2018 Sport Fishing Guide

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www.suncruisermedia.com Canada Pub No: 42201513 1


A WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE FOR

EVERYONE

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2 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018

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-Contents-

8 British Columbia: An Angler’s Mecca

12 Nootka Marine Adventures: A Wilderness Experience for Everyone

27 Westcoast Fish Expeditions

28 Westview Marina & Lodge: A Secret Space in Tahsis

53 Hakai Lodge

54 Catch the Action: BC Rivers Inlet Sportsman’s Club


PUBLISHER

Jason Tansem

EDITOR

Perry Mack

COPY AND FIELD EDITORS

Suzanne L. Clouthier & David Y. Wei

NATIONAL SALES MANAGER

Jason Tansem

ART DIRECTOR / DESIGNER

Cassandra Redding

ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS

Lisa Di Marco, Kate Parfitt

NATIONAL ADVERTISING

CONSULTANTS

Mark Collett, Brian Peck

DIGITAL EDITOR

Tracy Ubell

SOCIAL MEDIA

Megan Campagnolo

CONTRIBUTORS

Steve Fennel, David C. Kimble, David Y.

Wei, Suzanne L. Clouthier, Darcy Nybo

COVER PHOTO

Kingfish Westcoast Adventures

DESTINATIONS

16

30

40

46

56

Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands & Mainland

Vancouver Coast & Mountains

Thompson Okanagan Similakameen

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

Northern British Columbia

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THE SPORT FISHING GUIDE 2018

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Celebrating our 35th year of operation.

www.suncruisermedia.com 5


BC Regions

WATSON LAKE

1870 CALGARY, AB

2108 403 CRANBROOK

985 885 1181 DAWSON CREEK

1575 295 698 590 EDMONTON, AB

1753

1913

620

602

606

526

931

1091

800

897

KAMLOOPS

163 KELOWNA

1379* 983* 853* 1197* 1163* 363* NANAIMO

403*

998 1370 1240* 1140* 1471* 750 391 PORT HARDY

790*

1228 789 880 406 737 525 791* 734* PRINCE GEORGE

685

988 1513 1604 1130 1461 1249 391* 10* 724

1409

2120 1084 757 1298 1264 464 217 604* 892

504

2006 975 845 1184 1155 355 23* 410* 778

395

1492* 1013* 883* 1227* 1193* 393* 113 504 821*

433*

Distance Chart

(Kilometers)

*Driving distance does not include

travel by ferries.

PRINCE RUPERT

1616

1502

504*

TOURISM REGION BOUNDARIES

BRITISH COLUMBIA BOUNDARY

Rivers Inlet

n Vancouver Island n Vancouver, Coast & Mountains

n Thompson Okanagan n Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

n Kootenay Rockies n Northern BC

Look for these

colours to find

the region

highlights.

6 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


It’s in Our Blood

Fishing is a way of life in B.C. that

brings together families, drives

economies and supports wild

Pacific salmon.

Since 1987, people and businesses

from the recreational fishing

sector have helped the Pacific

Salmon Foundation invest over $54

million into conservation projects

valued at over $183 million.

Our children deserve a future with

abundant salmon and the healthy

ecosystems that depend on them.

Donate today or learn more at:

www.psf.ca.

At least 90 cents of every dollar you

donate goes directly into wild salmon

projects.

30 Years for wild Pacific salmon

psf.ca

www.suncruisermedia.com 7

Photo: Island Moments Photography


Introduction

Guillaume Bourdages

8 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


BY DAVID C. KIMBLE

BRITISH COLUMBIA

An Angler’s Mecca

The beautiful province of British

Columbia has fish and fishing like

none of the rest of Canada. It has

giant fish like barn-door halibut

in saltwater and, in the mighty Fraser River,

gargantuan white sturgeon – both of which

could well be bigger than your boat. For the

very youngest members of your family, the

province also has plenty of fun, little fish like

small trout, yellow perch, or bass that can be

caught right from shore. The province has

27,000 kilometres of Pacific Ocean coastline

with some kind of game fish in every bay or

inlet. They might be one of five varieties of

huge, hard-fighting Pacific salmon, or they

might be bottom dwellers like lingcod or one of

the dozen members of the very tasty rockfish

family. With 56,000 freshwater lakes – 20,000

containing sport fish – and 750,000 kilometres

of glacier-cooled, fish-filled streams, there’s

almost no limit to the variety of fishing that

both visitors and residents can experience.

Looking at saltwater destinations, there

are tremendous fishing locations in the Lower

Mainland, Gulf Islands, and Vancouver Island

regions where anglers, mainly seeking the

five varieties of hard-fighting Pacific salmon

– including prize chinook salmon weighing

over 22.7 kilograms (50 pounds) – can easily

drive with their own boats. However, to

avoid additional ferry fares for a boat and

trailer, many other anglers will drive to their

favourite resorts or marinas, and make use of

the professional guides and services offered.

Even without taking the ferry, anglers can also

find good numbers of salmon within a stone’s

throw of the downtown area of beautiful

Vancouver, along the outer edges of the Fraser

River delta, or north along the Sunshine Coast.

For the ultimate in this fabulous

province’s saltwater fishing adventures, check

out the fly-in destinations along the Central

and Northern coasts, located in remote areas

that receive far less fishing pressure than most

drive-to locations. Most of the resorts that

service these remote destinations will provide

anglers with everything they might need to

catch salmon, halibut, and lingcod. Anglers will

be totally pampered with comfortable rooms

and beds, gourmet meals, and state-of-the-art

boats which include top-of-the-line fishing

tackle, bait, and complete foul-weather gear

to keep you warm and dry. Anglers won’t be

able to remove their broad smiles for weeks

after they arrive back home, totally relaxed,

with several large boxes of vacuum-packed and

flash-frozen fish fillets to serve to their families

and friends. And – they usually don’t even need

to get their hands dirty. If you’ve personally

never experienced one of these luxury fly-in

trips, trust me – it’s an absolute must-do on

every angler’s bucket list.

For totally awesome freshwater fishing,

anglers just can’t beat the destinations within

the Thompson Okanagan Similkameen or

the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. Tremendously

fun on light tackle, coho and pink salmon in

rivers will readily strike flies as well as lures.

You’d better have some heavier gear with you,

however, because Central Coast coho often

tip the scales over nine kilograms (20 pounds)

and a few have even been close to that magical

13.6-kilogram (30-pound) mark. Rainbow

trout and kokanee are the most sought-after

fish in Interior waters; trout weighing over 4.5

kilograms (10 pounds), and kokanee over 3.6

kilograms (eight pounds), are quite common.

Family-friendly lakes, where limits of pansized

rainbow trout are more common than

not, are found throughout the province. Many

feature campgrounds, cabins, and resorts.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC makes

fishing easier by generously stocking many

of these lakes with catchable-sized trout. We

all love the sound of a child squealing with

laughter when they hook their first fish.

Look for northern pike, lake char, Arctic

grayling, and the occasional inconnu in the

province’s northern Interior. In the central

Interior, look for several thousand lakes full of

rainbow trout, kokanee and sometimes lake

char, bull trout, and eastern brook char. In the

southern Interior, you’ll find largemouth and

smallmouth bass, sometimes right alongside

the rainbow trout, eastern brook char and

kokanee. In Interior rivers, you can also find

chinook salmon, rainbow trout, and mountain

whitefish. To further whet your appetite for

fishing in British Columbia, remember that:

a 42.3-kilogram (93-pound) salmon was

caught off the Central Coast; a 12.3-kilogram

(27-pound) rainbow trout was caught in

Okanagan Lake; a 4.8-kilogram (10.5-pound)

largemouth bass was caught on Osoyoos Lake;

and a 4.2-kilogram (9.3-pound) kokanee was

caught in Okanagan Lake. Those facts should

get your angler’s heart a-pounding. For relief,

go fishing in beautiful British Columbia.

www.suncruisermedia.com 9


FIN FINDER

British Columbia’s fresh and tidal waters are home to an exciting variety of fish that lure anglers from

all over the world. Here are just a few of the many species you may find tugging on your line.

n Vancouver Island n Vancouver, Coast & Mountains

n Thompson Okanagan n Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

n Kootenay Rockies n Northern BC

n

n

n

n

n

Chinook Salmon

freshwater/saltwater

Also known as king

salmon or springs, and, if

over 30 pounds, “Tyee,”

Chinook are the largest

of the salmon and are

highly prized by anglers.

Fall Chinook spawn soon

after arriving at their spawning

grounds - usually large rivers

throughout the province. Spring

Chinook migrate earlier but

delay spawning until fall and

then spawn in smaller tributaries.

Fry spend a year or more in

freshwater.

Average size: 1.5 to 38 kg (3 to

80 lbs)

n

n

n

n

n

Coho Salmon

freshwater/saltwater

Also known as silver salmon,

coho are bright silver in

colour and are notorious for

wild, fast, and erratic fights.

Most coho spend 18 months

at sea, staying in coastal waters,

and then returning to their home

stream as three-year-olds.

Average size: 0.9 to 14 kg (2 to

30 lbs)

n

n

n

n

n

Sockeye Salmon

freshwater/saltwater

Strong, determined fighters

on light tackle, sockeye are

silver-blue in colour and are

best known for their deep,

pink flesh and excellent eating.

Sockeye fry, after emerging

from the gravel, migrate to

freshwater lakes where they spend

one to two years before heading out

to sea.

Average size: 2.2 to 3 kg (5 to 7

lbs) occasionally reaching 6.3

kg (14 lbs)

n

n

n

n

n

Rainbow Trout

freshwater

Rainbow trout are the most

popular of the freshwater

fish. Trout as large as 16

kilograms (35 pounds) have

been pulled from BC lakes.

Kamloops rainbow trout are

considered the highest jumping,

most acrobatic of any trout in the

world. Gerrard rainbows are the

largest of the rainbow family and

are found in Kootenay Lake and

other lakes in south and central BC.

Average size: 0.5 to 5 kg (1 to

11 lbs)

n

n

n

n

Cutthroat Trout

freshwater

Closely related to rainbow

trout, coastal cutthroat trout

are present in most lakes

and rivers along the coastal

mainland and on offshore islands.

It is not uncommon for anglers to

encounter these heavily spotted

trout while fishing for steelhead.

Average size: 0.5 to 1 kg(1 to

2.2 lbs)

10 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018 2016

n

n

n

n

Kokanee

freshwater

Kokanee are a landlocked

strain of sockeye salmon that

inhabit freshwaters throughout

the mainland areas of the

province. They are most abundant

in the Thompson Okanagan, Cariboo

Chilcotin Coast, and Kootenay

Rockies. The present world record

of 4.2 kilograms (9.2 pounds) was

taken from Okanagan Lake in 1988.

Average size: 0.5 kg (1 lb)

n

n

n

n

barb roy photo

Rockfish

Saltwater

BC rockfish come in all

shapes, sizes, and colours and

are primarily bottom-residing

fish. Rockfish have long lives (up to

115 years for red snapper) and do

not breed until they are between

seven and 18 years old, depending

on the species. Rockfish in BC

include red snapper (yelloweye),

quillback, tiger (pictured), and

copper.

Average size: 30 to 50 cm (12

to 19.5 in) depending on species

n

n

n

n

n

Lake Trout

Freshwater

Despite their name, lake trout

are included in the char family

and have deeply forked tails

and worm-like markings on

their backs and dorsal fins.

Lake trout are common in

most large lakes throughout central,

eastern, and northern BC and

have been known to reach weights

of 15 kilograms (33 pounds) and

more.

Average size: varies


Halibut

Halibut are huge game fish in BC,

both in size and in popularity. These

extraordinary bottom fish have eyes

and colour on only one side of their

flat, diamond-shaped bodies and can

reach almost unbelievable weights of up to 180 kgs (400 lbs). Many fishers

choose to release the larger females (over 60 lbs/27 kgs), which may carry

up to a million eggs, and keep the smaller males, often called “chickens,”

because of their superior flavour.

Average size: 9 to 18 kgs (20 to 40 lbs)

n

n

n

n

n

White Sturgeon

White sturgeon are a living relic from the Jurassic period and are

the largest freshwater fish in North America, growing to lengths of

six metres (19 feet) and weights of 620 kilograms (1,360 pounds).

Strictly catch-and-release (no retention). Conservation is carefully

monitored. Guides are strongly recommended.

Average size: 4.5 kgs to 5.5 kgs (10 to 12 lbs)

n

n

n

n

Bull Trout

freshwater

A member of the char family,

bull trout are often found in

BC’s interior and northern

waters. They are distinguished by

their large, broad, flattened heads

with jaws that curve downward.

Average size: 1 to 6 kg (2 to 13

lbs)

n

n

Brown Trout

freshwater

Brown trout have a very limited

range in BC but are known

to reach weights of 6 kilograms

(13 pounds) on Vancouver Island.

Brown trout are also present to a

limited degree in the Okanagan.

Average size: 0.5 to 2 kgs (1 to

4.5 lbs)

n

n

n

n

Lingcod

saltwater

Lingcod belong to the greenling

family and are the only

Canadian greenlings that

have canine-like teeth. They

have been known to weigh

up to 45 kilograms (100 pounds),

with the females attaining a larger

average size than the males. Many

anglers release mature females to

allow them to spawn and retain the

smaller, tastier males.

Average size: 3.5 to 7 kgs (8 to

15 lbs)

n

n

n

n

Chum Salmon

freshwater/saltwater

Chum are similar in appearance

to sockeye but have

vertical dark bars as they

near river mouths. They are larger

than sockeye and are noted for

their long, nearly unstoppable runs

and bulldogging tactics. Chum fry

migrate to the ocean soon after

they emerge from the gravel and

can spend up to seven years at sea;

however, four years is more typical.

Average size: 5.5 to 11 kgs (12

to 24 lbs)

n

n

n

Cutthroat Trout

freshwater

Westslope cutthroat trout

originated in the Kootenay

Rockies in southeastern BC

and have been successfully stocked

in many lakes in the Okanagan.

Although they are seldom large in

high-alpine lakes, they grow to very

respectable sizes in lower elevation

lakes and streams in the Kootenay

Rockies.

Average size: 0.5 to 1 kg

(1 to 2.2 lbs)

n

n

n

n

Shellfish

saltwater

Few meals can rival a feast

of West Coast shellfish. The

general term “shellfish” is

used to describe aquatic

invertebrate animals (without a

backbone). In BC waters, shellfish

include crab and prawns, which

are most commonly caught using

traps from boats, as well as clams,

oysters, scallops, mussels, squid,

and octopus.

n

n

n

n

n

Smallmouth

Bass freshwater

When hooked, these game

battlers put up a fast-paced,

stubborn fight, often with

lots of acrobatics. There are

healthy populations of smallmouth

bass in lakes in the Kootenay

Rockies, Okanagan, southern

Vancouver Island, and Salt Spring

Island. Bass willingly take bait and

lures, but fly fishers do well in the

summer.

Average size: 0.5 to 1.5 kg (1 to

3 lbs)

n

n

n

n

Pink Salmon

freshwater/saltwater

Pink salmon are the smallest

of the salmon but have a reputation

for being spirited fighters,

making them popular

with fly fishers. When pink emerge

from the gravel, they already have

the silvery colour of smolts and

migrate directly to the ocean. Pink

spend a fixed 18 months at sea;

thus, all returning pinks were born

in the same year.

Average size: 1.5 to 3 kg (3 to

7 lbs), occasionally to 5 kg (11

lbs)

n

n

n

n

n

Dolly Varden

freshwater

One of the char family, dolly

varden are present in many

lakes and streams in the

province and are often caught

while fishing for coastal cutthroat

or rainbow trout. They are

distinguished by their oval, snakelike

bodies.

Average size: 0.5 to 5 kg (1 to

10 lbs)

n

n

n

n

n

Steelhead

freshwater/saltwater

Many exciting fishing experiences

centre on a battle with

a steelhead, a feisty, sea-run

rainbow trout. There are two

strains, winter-run and summer-run,

but spawning migrations

often overlap. Steelhead spend one

to three years in freshwater, then

migrate to the ocean for one to

three more years before returning

to freshwater to spawn.

Average size: 3 to 10 kgs (6.5

to 22 lbs)

Unless otherwise credited, images courtesy of Tony Pletcher, Fisheries & Oceans Canada

www.suncruisermedia.com 11


12 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018

Spotlight


Photos courtesy of Nootka Marine Adventures

NOOTKA MARINE

ADVENTURES

A Wilderness Experience

for Everyone

www.suncruisermedia.com 13


W

ith three luxurious properties

nestled in the untouched

wilderness of Nootka Sound

and Esperanza Inlet, Nootka

Marine Adventures is the ultimate retreat for

outdoor enthusiasts on Vancouver Island.

Nootka Marine Adventures built their

reputation catering to the sport fishing

aficionado. Head out on a fully-guided

fishing adventure, bring your own boat, or

choose from a large fleet of rental boats. The

freshwater fishing is also exceptional. Within

close proximity are the Conuma, Canton,

Leiner, Gold, and Burman rivers, along with

Malaspina Lake – all located within a short

drive from land-based Moutcha Bay Resort.

Nootka Marine Adventures has also become

a preferred destination for guests looking for

other authentic wilderness experiences. Mix a

little variety into your sport fishing adventure

with a range of day trips, such as kayak or

stand-up paddleboard rentals; caving; hatchery

tours; hiking; and all-terrain vehicle trails. You

can also participate in getaways that offer a

blend of activities, including their highly rated

outdoor programs, seminars, and newly offered

health-and-wellness retreats. Nootka Marine

Adventures pride themselves in creating

custom-crafted adventures for individuals

or groups wishing to fish or just explore the

spectacular, historically rich region.

Moutcha Bay Resort: Drive-to,

Land-Based Resort

Moutcha Bay Resort is set on 25 waterfront

acres along the sheltered western edge of

Nootka Sound. As well as 38 serviced RV sites,

the resort offers a dramatic main lodge with

spacious high-end suites, luxurious yurts, and

chalet accommodations. While some rooms

offer full kitchens, most guests prefer to enjoy

dining at the Conuma Grill, the resort’s licensed

restaurant. Moutcha Bay is also the hub for

those arriving by car to access the two other

floating resorts.

Nootka Marine Adventures’ extensive

fleet of boats is based at Moutcha Bay, including

18 roomy, comfortable guide boats. The resort

also offers a premium selection of rental boats

ranging from 18 to 24 feet in length. The fullservice

marina – with 70 moorage slips (many

with access to 15- and 30-amp shore power)

– has everything for the do-it-yourself mariner,

including fuel, bait, and tackle.

Along with many on-site conveniences,

Moutcha Bay offers a government-inspected

fish processing facility. You can return home

with your catch portioned, vacuum-sealed, and

flash-frozen to the highest standards.

You don’t have to be a fishing enthusiast

to enjoy what this resort has to offer. It’s a

wonderful place to just relax in a pristine

wilderness setting. There are plenty of activities

for kids, too: a children’s playground with a zip

line, pedal boats, stand-up paddleboards, kayak

rentals, and lots more.

Rates:

Beginning in May – for $40 a night you can

rent a serviced recreational vehicle or tent site.

Starting at $600 per person, a group of four

can bring their own boat, stay in a waterfront

chalet for three nights with private moorage,

and fish for three days, with gourmet meals

and fish processing included.

Starting at $1,300 per person, a group of

four people can stay in a luxurious waterfront

yurt for three nights, with 30 hours of selfguided

fishing from a 24-foot Grady-White

rental boat (excluding fuel charges), gourmet

meals, and fish processing.

14 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


Nootka Sound Resort: Floating

Resort in Galiano Bay

Accessible by floatplane, or by boat transfer

from Moutcha Bay Resort, Nootka Sound Resort

is Nootka Marine Adventures’ original floating

wilderness resort. The resort was renovated and

expanded to increase capacity to 54 guests, and

modernized to add creature comforts. Nestled

in protected Galiano Bay at the heart of Nootka

Sound, the resort is recognized as one of the

top floating resorts in Canada. The all-inclusive

lodge offers comfort and luxury for both

intimate gatherings and large groups.

Rates:

Starting at $800 a person, you can bring your

own boat, and stay in lavish accommodations

for three nights with two full- and two half-days

of fishing and certified fish processing. This

package includes daily breakfasts, artisanal

lunches, and four-course gourmet dinners with

fine wine for four people.

Starting at $1,895 per person, you can stay

for three nights, and have a professional guide

and boat for two half-days and two full days

of fishing including certified fish processing.

The price includes transfers from Moutcha Bay

Resort, daily breakfasts, artisanal lunches, and

four-course gourmet dinners with fine wine.

Newton Cove Resort: Floating Resort

in Little Espinosa Inlet

Only minutes from ruggedly beautiful

Esperanza Inlet, Newton Cove Resort is a

state-of-the-art floating paradise. Nestled in

a secluded cove on the cusp of prime offshore

fishing grounds, this opulent resort can

accommodate up to 44 guests in 22 doubleoccupancy

rooms with ensuites.

The discerning angler will have access to some

of the west coast of Vancouver Island’s most

consistently productive inshore and offshore

waters for salmon and bottomfish. During

August and early September, thrill-seekers may

also have the opportunity to experience the

highly sought-after albacore tuna fishery.

The spectacular, remote wilderness that

surrounds Newton Cove Resort attracts guests

to this prime destination for exclusive retreats

and corporate events.

Rates:

Starting at $2,300 per person, you can stay in

this well-appointed resort for three nights. You

GETTING THERE

Drive-to – From the B.C. Ferries terminal in

Nanaimo, take Highway 19 North to Campbell

River. From there, take scenic Highway 28

West to Gold River, and continue on towards

Tahsis. Moutcha Bay Resort is situated 43

kilometres north of Gold River, about six

kilometres past the Conuma River Hatchery.

Local bus companies also offer ground

transportation for small or large groups from

local centres and airports.

Fly-In – Although many guests choose the

scenic drive to Moutcha Bay Resort, they

can also charter a floatplane from various

locations (Vancouver, Campbell River, Comox,

Nanaimo, Gold River, or Seattle), and fly

directly to any of Nootka Marine Adventures’

three resorts.

Contact:

URL: www.nootkamarineadventures.com

E-mail: info@nootkamarineadventures.com

Phone: 1-844 367 4592

will receive professionally guided fishing for

two half-days and two full days, with certified

fish processing of your catch. Your stay includes

transfers from Moutcha Bay Resort, daily

breakfasts, artisanal lunches, and four-course

gourmet dinners with fine wine. The rugged

marine beauty of the region’s three major

inlets – Tlupana, Tahsis, and Esperanza – while

transferring from Moutcha Bay to Newton

Cove is a bonus.

www.suncruisermedia.com 15


Vancouver Island,

The Gulf Islands,

& Mainland

David Y. Wei and Suzanne L. Clouthier

16 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


Nootka Marine Adventures

Throughout the year, Vancouver

Island, the Gulf Islands, and the

adjacent mainland consistently

offer some of British Columbia’s

finest saltwater and freshwater sport fishing.

Saltwater anglers will find salmon and

bottom-dwellers in a wide variety of locations

that range from calm, sheltered inlets to big

stomach-churning swells on the open Pacific

Ocean, to swirling whirlpools and back eddies

in the tidal narrows of Discovery Passage. Flyfishers

can walk-and-wade for searun cutthroat

trout throughout the year, or for salmon from

mid-summer to fall, in estuaries and along the

beaches of eastern Vancouver Island.

The vast region’s mainland portion

offers prime wilderness fishing for monster

chinook and trophy coho within rugged,

steep-sided fjords. Remote estuaries and

wilderness streams at the heads of these

mainland inlets will deliver incredible helifishing

for salmon during late summer into

autumn, then steelhead fishing well into the

spring … and searun Dolly Varden char or

cutthroat trout anytime.

Freshwater fishers will find rainbow,

cutthroat, and Dolly Varden in Vancouver

Island’s many streams, rivers, and lakes. The

Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, from

the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery in

Duncan, complements natural populations

with generous releases of rainbow trout. You

can even find smallmouth bass and catfish in

many lakes around southern Vancouver Island

and on Salt Spring Island.

With 34 ships serving 47 ports on

24 routes, B.C. Ferry Services has been

an important part of travel to and from

Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and the

adjacent mainland since 1960. The company’s

B.C. Ferries Vacations offers a convenient way

to plan and book complete travel packages

around the Vancouver Island region.

Campbell River Area

When thinking about salmon fishing on

Vancouver Island, Campbell River is always

one of the first towns to consider. It still

boasts the title “Salmon Capital of the World”

(although the town of Port Alberni also claims

that moniker). Among the islands and islets

of the narrow strait between Campbell River

and the mainland, there is good fishing for

salmon and bottomfish in protected passages

throughout the year, though most of the

angling activity takes place from early spring

through to mid-autumn.

It pays to visit the town’s marinas, tackle

shops, and full-service fishing resorts for

expert advice and tackle selection. First-time

visitors should consider professional guiding

services to learn about fishing in places with

turbulent and potentially dangerous tidal

currents. Anglers can choose from relaxed

downrigger-trolling in open waters to

strenuous drift-jigging around underwater

structure, or experience the gape-mouthed

excitement of motor-mooching a cutplug

herring along the edges of enormous tidal

whirlpools. Between Vancouver Island and

Quadra Island, you can find excellent fishing

from Race Point to Cape Mudge along both

sides of Discovery Passage. There are plenty

of spots only minutes from the dock that

are ideal for a successful, standard four-hour

charter: the entrance of Campbell River’s

harbour to Willow Point; April to Whiskey

points; and Yaculta to Cape Mudge, including

hot spots like Duncan Bay and Copper Bluffs.

When tidal currents in Discovery Passage are

too swift for downrigger-trolling, you can try

drift-jigging, or motor-mooching with cutplug

herring in back eddies off rocky points.

The “Hump” is a small ocean mount that

lies at a depth of 50 metres, just south of Cape

Mudge. Schools of bait like to congregate

on the lee-side of the mount, depending on

the prevailing tidal current. While trolling

is popular there, you can have even better

success lift-dropping a heavy drift-jig (like

a glow Army Truck Rip Tide Striker) within

three metres of the bottom, where game fish

like to wait in ambush.

Near the end of an ebb tide, the “Deep,”

south of the Hump, is renowned for great

fishing in almost 200-metre depths. In June,

try deep-trolling your lures at over 75 metres

for mature “Columbia” chinook on their

southern migration.

In recent years, halibut have been slowly

re-establishing around the Hump and Deep.

Don’t be too surprised if you find one of these

good-eating flatties hitting your deeply trolled

or jigged lures.

For bird-watchers, Mitlenatch Island

Nature Provincial Park – a barren rock in the

middle of Georgia Strait – boasts the largest

seabird colony in British Columbia. Its rocky

shores are a good place to observe younger sea

lions cavorting in the water while big, maned

bulls bellow raspy challenges as they jockey

for the driest ledges to lay in the sun.

During spring, anglers looking for

chinook should head to more distant spots.

North of Seymour Narrows, try trolling along

both sides of Discovery Passage from Brown’s

and Plumper bays to Chatham Point, Green

Sea Bay, and Thurston Bay. In September and

www.suncruisermedia.com 17


West Coast Adventures

Vancouver Island, The Gulf Islands And Mainland

October, try these same spots for huge runs

of silver-bright chum salmon (and be sure to

enter the three-day, community-supported

Brown’s Bay Charity Derby). Along the eastern

side of Quadra Island, fish the shoreline from

Francisco Point to Rebecca Spit, then on both

sides of Hoskyn Channel (which separates

Quadra Island from Read Island). Mature fish

enter Toba and Bute inlets during May; it’s

a long run, but a trip to these distant fjords

might net you a hefty white chinook. Later

in the summer, the northern tip of Sonora

Island at Hall Point, or Denham Bay on the

mainland, are worth another long jaunt for

the chance to hook a Frederick Arm tyee that

can top 20 kilograms.

Popular trolling lures to use in the

Campbell River area include:

• big spoons (like the Gibbs-Delta G Force

“Bon Chovy,” “Trailhead,” “No Bananas,”

or “Trap Shack”; O’Ki Titan “Bloody

Nose” chartreuse or white glow with

“Real Anchovy Image”; Tomic #500, #602

“Honeycomb,” #639; Luhr Jensen “Cop Car”

or “Army Truck Coyote”; Pesca “Gut Bomb,”

“Big Gulp,” “Old School,” or “Clupea”; or

Williams Whitefish)

• smaller versions of any of these spoons

(and others, like the Gibbs-Delta Skinny G,

Razorback, or Silver Horde Coho Killer in

“Herring Aide,” “Outfitter,” “Gold Nugget,”

“UV Purple/Pink/Black” or “No Bananas”

colours) with two-metre-long leaders

behind full-sized flashers

• hoochies (Army Truck, glow-green

splatterback, Tiger Prawn, Mint Tulip,

UV purple haze, Pistachio, Irish Mist, or

Goldstar “Double Glow” OG153R), one

metre behind full-sized glow flashers

(Gibbs-Delta Guide Series UV Moon Jelly,

O’Ki Fire n’ Ice, or Hot Spot UV Purple)

• anchovy (real or Gibbs-Delta soft plastic Big

Bite imitations) in Rhys Davis or O’Ki JDF

teaser heads (chrome, UV purple, or glow),

or Jughead Shakers, with two-metre-long

leaders behind full-sized flashers

• wobbling lures (Gibbs-Delta Hockey Sticks,

or Apex Hot Spots)

• five- to seven-inch Tomic (#493, #500,

#530UV, #602 or #639), or four-inch Lyman

(#306 or #327) plugs.

Runs of all five species of Pacific salmon

return to their birth streams from late

summer into the autumn. Beach-fishers are in

their heaven as schools of pinks (interspersed

with coho and the odd chinook) swarm into

the shallows on incoming tides to attack

saltwater fly patterns and small spinning

lures.

Established in 1924, Campbell River’s

legendary Tyee Club allows an angler

membership for catching a tyee (a big chinook

that weighs 13.6 kilograms or more) under

very strict rules. The fish must be caught

with a rod and reel in the Tyee Pool, at the

mouth of the Campbell River, from a guiderowed

craft. Anglers can only use an artificial

lure (usually a big 50/50 or “watermelon” #8

Gibbs Stewart spoon, or a glow #600 or #602

“tubby tyee” Tomic plug) attached to a main

line with a breaking strength of less than nine

kilograms (that’s 20-pound test). Once a fish

is hooked, the guide mustn’t touch the rod or

line — only after the fish has been netted. All

tyee must be weighed at the clubhouse on the

beach in front of the Pool.

Try the Campbell River itself for its

renowned salmon and steelhead fisheries.

Other area rivers include the White, Lower

Quinsam, Salmon, Elk, Adam, and Eve,

where you can find cutthroat, rainbow, and

18 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


Since 1924

Since 1924

Since 1924

brown trout along with seasonal salmon and

steelhead.

For still-water anglers, Quinsam, Buttle,

Muchalat, Echo, Beavertail, Drum, Campbell,

and Upper and Lower Campbell lakes offer

excellent fishing for rainbow and cutthroat

trout. Accessible via a vast network of gravel

logging roads, many small lakes (like Roberts

in the Sayward Valley to the north) are also

well worth a visit. Try spin-casting small

spoons, Worden’s Flatfish, or Gibbs-Delta

Silvex or Mepps Aglia spinners, or just soak a

worm beneath a bobber.

Eco-tours of the region by high-speed

Zodiac are exhilarating, and great fun. You

might spot killer whales, Pacific white-sided

dolphins, harbour porpoises, migrating sea

lions, and other marine mammals amidst

the stunning vistas of the Inside Passage.

Take a tour in late summer to viewing

stands overlooking spawning streams to see

grizzly and black bears fishing for salmon.

During peak tidal flows, feel heart-pounding

exhilaration while holding at the bottom edge

of a two-metre high overfall as it roars past

the bow of your boat, or stare into massive,

seemingly bottomless whirlpools while you

take a white-knuckle “spin cycle” through

Seymour Narrows or Arran Rapids.

Discover fascinating exhibits

documenting the area’s First Nations heritage,

early European settlers’ pioneering days,

and resource industries at the Museum at

Campbell River. Scrutinize spawning salmon –

eyeball-to-eyeball – during a “swim-with-thefishes”

drift-boat tour down the Campbell, a

designated British Columbia Heritage River.

See, and even touch, marine life from regional

tidal pools, eelgrass beds, and undersea

“forests” of bull kelp at the Discovery Passage

Aquarium. A drive north to Sayward, a

historic port and logging centre, will bring

you to the world’s largest yellow cedar.

Take the short trip across Discovery

Passage aboard B.C. Ferries to Quadra Island.

Tour the We Wai Kai Nation’s Nuyumbalees

Cultural Centre in Cape Mudge Village, with

its significant collection of Kwa’kwa’ka’wa’kw

artifacts, ceremonial masks, and carvings.

Search for ancient petroglyphs at low tide

along the rocky shore near picturesque

Cape Mudge Lighthouse. Over a hundred

artists and craftspeople (including painters,

potters, sculptors, musicians, writers, and

photographers) have studios and workshops

on Quadra Island, many of which are open to

the public. From a pebbled beach at Rebecca

Spit Marine Provincial Park, on the eastern

side of Quadra, gaze across Sutil Channel for

stunning, panoramic views of the mainland’s

snow-capped mountains.

Finish your angling adventure in

Campbell River spin-casting drift jigs for

salmon and bottomfish off public Discovery

Fishing Pier on the downtown waterfront,

while watching majestic cruise ships glide

by. And we challenge you to finish one of the

huge, regular-sized ice cream cones from the

pier’s food concession!

Central East Coast of Vancouver

Island, and the Gulf Islands

Out of Nanaimo, anglers will find good

angling for chinook throughout the year

along the deep drop-offs adjacent the Gulf

Islands of Saturna, Mayne, Galiano, and

Gabriola, and at the edges of swift tidal

currents at the entrances to Active and Porlier

passes. Troll at depths between 35 metres

and the bottom along Gabriola, but watch

bottom depths carefully around the Flat Top

Islands (especially at Thrasher Rock) and in

the entrances to Porlier and Active passes.

Anchovy in clear, UV purple, “jelly fish,” or

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www.suncruisermedia.com 19


Vancouver Island, The Gulf Islands And Mainland

glow-green teaser heads work well for feeder

chinook all year, and for mature chinook

from May to September. Small Gibbs-Delta

Razorback, G-Force, and Skinny G; Silver

Horde Coho Killer; O’Ki Titan; Tomic; Pesca;

or Luhr Jensen Coyote spoons are also

effective. Troll any of these lures with twometre

leaders behind a full-sized “jelly fish”

UV plastic blade flasher with glow Mylar tape.

When the seas are calm and winds light, driftjig

with Gibbs-Delta Minnows, Deadly Dicks,

Buzz Bombs, or Rip Tide Strikers at Driebar

Point on Gabriola Island, or around Five

Finger, Snake, and Entrance islands.

For the freshwater angler, Brannen,

Long, Rhododendron, Horne, Lowry, Spider,

Quennell, Westwood, Cameron, Loon,

Colliery Dam, and the four Nanaimo lakes

near Nanaimo hold plenty of cutthroat and

rainbow trout.

From Parksville to Qualicum Beach, try

your hand at beach-fishing for pinks, along

with the odd coho and chinook. You can find

good runs of these small but willing strikers

in the shallows around many estuaries. Flycast

using a sink tip line, and pink shrimp or

Clouser minnow patterns. Spin-cast pinkhued

lures (Gibbs-Delta or Mepps spinners,

or small casting spoons like the Luhr Jensen

Krocodile or Williams Bully).

Around Courtney-Comox, there’s

good salmon fishing from Bates Beach to

the southern ends of Hornby and Denman

islands. These are good waters to try driftjigging

for salmon (with Buzz Bombs,

Zzingers, Spinnows, or Rip Tide Strikers) as a

productive alternative to deep-trolling bait or

lures with downriggers.

Comox Lake, which also holds a good

population of willing kokanee, has great

fishing for rainbow trout, Dolly Varden

char, and trophy cutthroat trout. Maple

and Wolf lakes (along with Chickadee on

Denman Island), are regularly stocked with

rainbow and cutthroat trout. The Forbidden

Plateau boasts a number of small hike-in

lakes that hold surprisingly big rainbow

trout. Try the Puntledge and Oyster rivers

for good salmon and cutthroat trout fishing

during late summer.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of

BC stocks many of the region’s lakes with

catchable-sized trout from the Vancouver

Island Trout Hatchery in Duncan. The Society

also offers a free Learn to Fish program for

kids aged 5 to 15 at Colliery Dams Park. If you

have no fishing gear, learn about their free

Rod Loan program at www.gofishbc.com.

The drier eastern side of Vancouver Island is

a golfer’s paradise, with some 40 courses to

choose from. Both Little Qualicum River and

Englishman River falls (north of Nanaimo)

feature stunning cascades, shaded walking

trails, and swimming holes within a lush

forest setting. Many of the Gulf Islands are

West Coast Adventures Nootka Marine Adventures

only a scenic B.C. Ferries’ cruise from the

mainland or Vancouver Island, and offer fine

dining; luxurious sea-view bed-and-breakfast

accommodations (many with massages and

other spa treatments); wineries; and weekend

crafters’ markets. The Horne Lake Caves,

20 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


lying just north of Qualicum Beach, offer

spectacular underground tours that range

from mild to extreme. You’ll find some of

winter’s best snowboarding, alpine downhill,

and Nordic cross-country skiing at Mount

Washington near Comox. Strathcona, British

Columbia’s oldest provincial park, is the place

to find excellent hiking on the panoramic

Forbidden Plateau throughout the summer.

Southern Vancouver Island

Southern Vancouver Island (from Cowichan

Bay and Salt Spring Island on the east to

Sooke on the west) offers excellent salmon

and bottom fishing year ’round. Between

October and April, enormous schools of

baitfish (herring, sand lance, anchovy, and

squid) congregate in the waters of Victoria

Harbour, Oak Bay, and Saanich Inlet. Feeder

springs up to 10 kilograms in weight, along

with the odd tyee, prey upon this abundant

feed.

Ultraviolet-absorbing “moon jelly” glow

flashers, lures, and teaser heads are top

producers in these waters. Troll your gear

just off the bottom using Gibbs-Delta Guide

Series, O’Ki, or Hot Spot flashers in the latest

blades made from glow UV plastic, as well as

original silver Mylar on plain green, red, or

chartreuse blades. For lures use:

• small whole herring or anchovy, or Gibbs-

Delta Big Bite artificial anchovy in a Rhys

Davis, O’Ki JDF, or Jughead Shaker teaser

head with two-metre leaders

• small spoons (Gibbs-Delta Skinny G,

Razorback, G-Force, or Gypsy; Silver Horde

Coho Killer; O’Ki Titan; Tomic; Luhr Jensen

Coyote; or Pesca SPF or RSG) in green-andglow,

Army Truck, or “police car” colours

with two-metre leaders

• hoochies (Purple Haze, Army Truck, Oil

Slick, Tiger Prawn, Pistachio, green-andwhite,

glow splatterback, or translucent

white octopus or squirt) with one-metrelong

leaders

• small Tomic Tubby Tyee (#602, or #639) or

Lyman (#306 or #327) glow plugs.

Bottom bouncing your downrigger weight

occasionally will attract halibut as well as

salmon to your lures.

Troll around Moresby Island from Point

Fairfax to Seymour Point, Sidney Channel,

Coal Island, and Hamley Point. Other areas

worth checking out include Imrie Island,

Colburne Passage, Dock Island, Shute Pass

from Knapp Island to Shute Rock, Miners

Channel between Sidney Spit and Forrest

Island, Cordova Channel, the Red Can Buoy

at the northern end of Sidney Channel, and

Wain Rock in Saanich Inlet. The peak of the

halibut fishery occurs from March to May.

Find these oversized flatfish around slack tide

at places like the Oak Bay flats, Constance

Bank, Race Rocks, and just off Mendarte and

Halibut islands in Miners Channel.

Around Sooke and Pedder Bay, mature

chinook begin to show up in May. Slow-troll

your flasher (O’Ki metallic Gold Betsy) and

anchovy (in a matching Betsy teaser head)

offerings at depths between 10 and 25 metres

for these sometimes tyee-sized slabs that

can weigh up to 25 kilograms. During the

summer, big schools of coho, pink, sockeye,

and chum flooding though Juan de Fuca Strait

augment the chinook fishery. Look forward to

exciting aerobatic battles with trophy-sized,

hook-nosed northern coho that swarm into

the area in late summer.

Thetis, Elk, Spectacle, and Fuller lakes

(near Victoria) and St. Mary’s Lake (on Salt

Spring Island) have good populations of

smallmouth and bigmouth bass, in addition

to great fishing for rainbow and cutthroat

trout. The Cowichan, a designated Heritage

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www.suncruisermedia.com 21


Vancouver Island, The Gulf Islands And Mainland

River, provides year ’round, world-class walkand-wade

or drift-boat fly-fishing for rainbow,

cutthroat, and trophy brown trout, and

steelhead trout during the winter. Shawnigan,

Langford, Cowichan, Chemainus, and Dougan

lakes, along with the Sooke and Koksilah

rivers, are other good freshwater destinations

to fish.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society’s liberal

stocking program is the primary reason for

southern Vancouver Island’s fine freshwater

fishing. For kids, the Society also runs free

Learn to Fish programs at Langford’s Lake Ida

Anne, and at Victoria’s Elk Lake.

Many talented artists, artisans, and

craftspeople are based in Sooke, and welcome

visitors to their studio shops. Cool off on a

hot summer’s day with a refreshing dip in

the Sooke Potholes. Goldstream Provincial

Park is a great place to check out the autumn

spectacle of salmon spawning. Later in the

fall, you can observe swarms of bald eagles

and other raptors as they gorge on the

spawned-out carcasses.

Victoria, the provincial capital, is a

tourists’ mecca. Take a guided tour of the

stately Legislative Buildings, then cross the

street for an intriguing and educational visit to

the Royal British Columbia Museum. Many of

the city’s heritage buildings (like Craigdarroch

Castle, with 39 rooms that feature finely fitted

oak woodwork and exquisite stained glass

windows) are open to the public. In the suburb

of Colwood, take a tour of Fort Rodd Hill,

Hatley Park Castle, or the Fisgard Lighthouse

National Historic Sites. And there are plenty of

stores and funky shops worth checking out in

the downtown core.

In the town of Duncan, north of Victoria,

take a self-guided walk among 41 exquisitely

carved totem poles, then discover more about

the Cowichan First Nation at the Quw’utsun’

Cultural and Conference Centre. Tour the

British Columbia Forest Discovery Centre to

learn about the province’s logging industry,

and enjoy a nostalgic ride through the dense

forest aboard an old, narrow-gauge steam

locomotive. And be sure to have a taste of

some award-winning wines at wineries in the

Cowichan Valley.

Pedestrian-friendly Sidney (also known

as Booktown for its many bookstores) is a

great place to take a leisurely stroll along the

waterfront. The Shaw Centre for the Salish

Sea has hundreds of examples of local sea life

in fascinating saltwater aquarium habitats.

Nearby is world-renowned Butchart Gardens

– its immaculately manicured grounds and

vividly coloured, seasonal floral displays are

sure to awe and inspire the home gardener.

West Coast of Vancouver Island

Extending far into the Pacific Ocean from

the western coastline of Vancouver Island,

the relatively shallow offshore banks of

continental shelf form a nursery for young

salmon and a major migratory route for

mature salmon. Undersea structure in the

form of reefs, ocean ridges, shoals, gravelly

depressions, and rocky outcrops provides

shelter for vast shoals of baitfish, while at the

same time places for salmon and bottomfish

to ambush their prey. You can choose to fish

so far offshore that the majestic peaks of

Vancouver Island look like out-of-focus hills.

Inshore, you can fish in the calm waters of

protected sounds, or feel the salt spray while

trolling close to the surf-pounded, outer

coastline.

Safety first! With long distances to

travel, and few safe havens, first-timers

should seriously consider hiring a guide

to go anywhere on the western coast of

Vancouver Island. Licensed pros have the

knowledge, experience, and equipment to

deal with hazards like frequent fog and rough

seas – and to know when they should stay in

port. Be certain that any boat is in top-notch

mechanical shape, and equipped with VHF

radio, radar, a depthsounder, GPS, and an

auxiliary trolling motor to complement Coast

Guard-mandated safety equipment. And it’s

Nootka Marine Adventures

22 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


good practice to carry both a fully charged cell phone and a waterproof,

handheld GPS as backup.

Although the fishing on the west coast is good 12 months of the

year, the serious saltwater season begins after most severe winter

storms have passed in March, and is over by the end of September.

Early in the year, you can find great fishing for feeder chinook in the

protected inshore waters of major inlets and sounds. Migrating halibut

start coming onto the shallow banks from the deep ocean around

late April. In late June, the first shoals of sizeable coho mix with both

feeder and mature springs. Throughout the summer, surges of pink,

sockeye, and chum salmon join in. Sport fishing tapers off once the

first big Pacific storms start in early autumn.

Port Renfrew, in San Juan Inlet, is a convenient base for fishing

(easily reached from Victoria or the B.C. Ferry terminal at Swartz Bay

in a little over two hours via Highway 14 West). Just outside the inlet,

the “Beach” follows a sand ledge along a 20- to 30-metre-deep contour

north from Owen Point to Camper Creek. The Beach (and at Nitinat

Narrows, between Port Renfrew and Bamfield, in August) is where you

are most likely to find trophy-sized, mature chinook to 20 kilograms.

Troll from just inside the 20-metre contour, working out as deep as the

30-metre contour. There is spectacular fishing right inside the inlet,

from late August to the end of the season, for big, aerobatic San Juan

River coho that can top 10 kilograms.

Swiftsure Bank is a shallow plateau at the entrance to the Strait

of Juan de Fuca about 30 kilometres to the northwest of Port Renfrew.

Long known as a major nursery area for salmon and bottomfish,

fishing is highly restricted to only certain parts of the bank (be sure get

the exact boundaries from the DFO regulations for Area 121). While

the fish may not be as big as those along the Beach, there are plenty

of feeder chinook and the odd mature fish to 15 kilograms. While

deep-trolling for chinook with downriggers, you can also flat line an

unweighted bucktail streamer fly or small spoon to attract aggressive

coho (including lots of fin-clipped hatchery fish that you can keep as

part of your limit of salmon) right in the surface film. The bank also

has exceptional bottom fishing for halibut.

From late summer through autumn, you can find steelhead, huge

mature coho, and chinook in the San Juan River and its estuary. The

Gordon River has a good run of steelhead. Two nearby popular lakes,

Lizard and Fairy, hold stocked rainbow trout, searun Dolly Varden

char, and cutthroat trout.

In Port Renfrew, ask for directions to the Red Creek Fir and San

Juan Spruce, Canada’s largest standing Douglas fir and Sitka Spruce

respectively. Nearby, serene Avatar Grove holds “Canada’s Gnarliest

Tree.” For a challenging multiple-day trek that will test your nerve and

stamina, reserve a spot to hike the world-famous West Coast Trail

from Port Renfrew to Bamfield. You’ll find world-class kite-boarding

and wind-surfing at Nitinat Lake. On your way back to Victoria along

Highway 14, Botanical Beach in Juan De Fuca Provincial Park is worth

a stop at low tide to inspect the incredibly colourful marine life that

teems in shallow tidal pools. Finish your day with a leisurely stroll

along the wave-washed gravel beach at the mouth of the San Juan

River in the warm glow of sunset against a darkening sky.

You’ll access the weathered beauty of Barkley Sound through the

main towns of Port Alberni, Ucluelet, and Bamfield. This sound has

good fishing throughout the year for feeder chinook, with excellent

chances to hook a fish between the entrance of Bamfield Harbour and

Cape Beale. Swale Rock, along with Diplock, Sanford, Effingham, and

Chrow islands, are other fishy spots worth trying. Brawny, mature

chinook return to the Robertson Creek hatchery and to the Stamp,

Sproat, and Somass river systems all summer. Throughout Barkley

Sound and Alberni Inlet, fishing for trophy tyee (to 25 kilograms)

peaks around August 15. There is some limited retention of wild coho

inside Barkley Sound, but be sure to note the no-fishing boundaries

around the sound’s Rockfish Conservation Areas in the Broken Group,

including spot closures in places like San Mateo or Nahmint bays

during the summer. And be sure to enter the renowned Port Alberni

Salmon Festival & Derby during Labour Day weekend.

Along with mature coho and chinook salmon, the Stamp River

is gaining quite a following for its excellent summer steelhead run

that compares well with its superb winter steelhead fishery. There’s

only light fishing pressure on good populations of steelhead, resident

rainbow, and cutthroat trout in Sproat, Great Central, Nahmint,

Henderson, and Nitinat lakes — all easily accessed from Port Alberni.

Flies, bait, and hardware work well in all these waters.

Alberni Inlet can offer super early-summer sockeye fishing, but

this fishery is subject to spot closures. Lasting only from late June into

early July, this fishery is so popular that local campgrounds and marinas

sometimes have waiting lists for reservations a year in advance.

Starting out from marinas and resorts in both Ucluelet and

Bamfield, fish the offshore banks (Lighthouse, La Perouse, South,

Hayason, and Big) at hotspots with local nicknames like “Turtle

Head,” “Starfish,” “Southwest Corner,” “Gullies,” “Rat’s Nose,” and

“Stinky’s Hole.” Trolling or drift-jigging close to the sandy bottom in

depths around 25 fathoms are good ways to catch halibut and other

bottomfish as well as feeder chinook. Starting in late July, anglers can

find mature chinook higher in the water column – between eight and

20 fathoms – along with swarms of wild and hatchery coho.

Fishing Charters 12 months of the year? You bet!

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www.suncruisermedia.com 23


Vancouver Island, The Gulf Islands And Mainland

From late July until late August, big

chinook lurk along inshore nooks and

crannies at the edge of the surf line from

Ucluelet to Tofino, looking to ambush your

lures. Some of the favoured spots are Wya

Point, Portland Point, Florencia Bay, Little

Beach, Long Beach, the “red can,” and Wilf

Rock, but be aware of spot closures.

In Ucluelet, take a stroll along the Wild

Pacific Trail with its stunning ocean views

from cliff-top vantage points. Visit the new

Ucluelet Aquarium to learn about – and even

touch – some of the local marine denizens.

The next great sound north of Barkley

is Clayoquot. Anglers who want to ocean

fly-fish for salmon can book with many

charter operations in Tofino, which have

the specialized boats and guide services to

accommodate them. This fly-fishery starts

in May, but peaks during the latter part of

August and into September. Dual offshoreinshore

charters target halibut and chinook

offshore, then slip into protected inshore

waters so fly-flingers can cast needlefish or

herring imitations at swarms of voracious

coho. Local streams offer steelhead and

salmon during the autumn, and resident

rainbow and cutthroat trout fishing all year.

Storm-watching is a favourite late fall

and winter activity, when violent winds

and pounding surf pummel Long Beach in

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Strolling

through the gentle waves that lap the same

sandy shores in summer is popular too in this

picturesque area. Book a scenic day-cruise

around Vargas and Flores islands, with a stop

for a natural “spa” soak at Hot Springs Cove in

Maquinna Provincial Marine Park (though be

warned, bathing suits are optional).

The continental shelf narrows to only

a few kilometres at the northwestern tip of

Vancouver Island. The “Salmon Highway,”

which follows the shelf’s incredibly fishy edge

(marked by the 50-fathom bottom contour

line), is only a short run offshore from the

entrances to the island’s three most northerly

sounds: Nootka, Kyuquot, and Quatsino.

In Nootka Sound, several hatcheries

enhance the natural runs of prime chinook

and coho. Mature salmon follow the “highway”

from the northern end of Vancouver Island

to their natal streams; anglers will have

many opportunities to hook a prized tyee or

aerobatic coho only short distances offshore.

Try hot spots like Bajo Reef, Maquinna Point,

Beano Creek, Burdwood Point, Escalante Point,

and Wash Rocks.

With most of the sound’s chinook

heading to the hatchery at Conuma River

throughout July and August, big schools of

mature chinook congregate at hot spots like

Strange Island, Beer Can Bay, Camel Rock,

the Wall, San Carlos Point, and the Conuma

River estuary right within the sound. You’ll

often find these mature spawners at shallower

depths, tight to shore; troll your lures (flasher

and anchovy-in-a-teaser-head or hoochie

combos, Tomic plugs, or big six-inch spoons

fished on their own) at between six and 14

metres.

It’s worth the bit longer drive to Tahsis

or Zeballos to access the uncrowded waters

and quality fishing of the more remote

Esperanza and Zeballos inlets on the

northwestern side of Nootka Island. Shallowtroll

your lures right up close to the rugged

shoreline at Black or Pin rocks, Rosa or

Catala islands, or Ferrer Point. You’ll also find

exceptional bottom fishing around a number

of offshore pinnacles.

You can tow in your own boat, but

with just a gravel road to service the head of

Nootka Sound, and very limited parking and

marine services, it’s easier to book a stay at

a fishing resort right in the sound, or take a

charter out of the towns of Gold River, Tahsis,

or Zeballos.

Kyuquot Sound covers some 50

kilometres of water from Tatchu Point on the

east, just around the corner from Esperanza

Inlet to Clerke Point on the west (at the tip

of the Brooks Peninsula). The Barrier Islands,

the tip of Brooks Peninsula, and the entrance

to Winter Harbour can have “bites” that last

for hours, often with multiple hookups.

Quatsino is the most remote northern

sound. Salmon and bottom fishing is terrific

both inshore and offshore. Quatsino Narrows,

Cliffe Point south to Harney Cove, between

Kains and Pinnacle Islands, and in the open

Pacific, northwest of Cape Parkins, around

Grants Bay and Lippy Point are all great

places to drop your lines. Almost any shallow

underwater reef will yield good catches of

rockfish or lingcod, while deeper waters with

sandy bottoms are stacked with halibut.

With few accommodations, supplies, or

marinas, anglers are wise to book a fullservice,

fully guided fishing charter from a

resort based in the coastal villages of Kyuquot

or Winter Harbour. Guided fishing is also the

safest way to experience the fabulous angling

in these semi-wilderness locations.

Trolling tackle for salmon along the

western coast of Vancouver Island includes:

• long squirt hoochies to mimic sandlance

(early in the season, when offshore banks

are loaded with this bait) as well as octopus

or bigger cuttlefish hoochies in blue or

green glow splatterback, pistachio, Goldstar

OG153R, North Pacific J200, translucent

white, Army Truck, or UV purple haze

colours, one metre behind full-sized UVabsorbing

or glow flashers (O’Ki, Hot Spot,

or Gibbs-Delta), along with octopus or

“plankton-size” hoochies in hot fluorescent

pink, red, or orange colours for pink,

sockeye, and chum salmon

• anchovy in a Rhys Davis or O’Ki JDF teaser

head, or whole herring in a Rhys Davis

teaser head, especially when fishing inshore

(imitation Big Bite herring and anchovy

products from Gibbs-Delta can be an

effective alternative)

• 4.5-inch Gibbs-Delta Hockey Stick or Apex

Hot Spot high-action trolling lures, or

smaller three- to five-inch spoons (like the

Gibbs-Delta G-Force, Razorback, Skinny G,

Coho Killer, Gypsy or Gator; O’Ki Titan ;

Luhr Jensen Coyote; Pesca RSG or SPF) two

metres behind full-sized flashers

• big spoons (Gibbs-Delta G Force or Gator;

O’Ki Titan; Tomic; Pesca RSG or SPF; Luhr

Jensen Coyote; Rip Tide Striker Needlefish;

or Williams Whitefish) in glow green-andwhite,

“No Bananas,” Army Truck, gold,

pilchard, “Bloody Nose” chartreuse with

“Real Anchovy Image,” #500, #602, #639,

or “police car” colours, fast-trolled without

flashers later in the season when mature

chinook mingle with swarms of coho

• seven-inch Tomic plugs (which can also

keep aggressive coho from striking) in

colours #158, #404 P.I., #500, #530 glow,

#JM1, #600, #602, #639, #700, or #900.

A herring or chunk of salmon belly

impaled on a big circle or J hook drifted

behind a heavily weighted spreader bar will

attract the attention of the west coast’s

abundant bottom dwellers. Also effective are

soft artificial baits (like a white 10-inch Gibbs-

Delta Hali Hawg or a Berkley eight-inch Power

Grub). If you want to feel that sudden electric

jolt of a hard-striking fish, try drift-jigging

with a heavy Doug Field’s Halibut Spinnow or

Gibbs-Delta Mudraker.

Also try rubbing, squirting or soaking

lures with fish oil-based commercial scents

(Smelly Jelly, Gulp! Alive!, or ProCure).

These potions are as effective at masking

fish-repelling human odours as they are at

attracting fish.

Recently, several fishing resorts from

all three northern sounds have been making

forays some 40 to 70 kilometres offshore in

late August and early September to pursue

speedy albacore tuna. These smaller, white-

24 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


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Vancouver Island, The Gulf Islands And Mainland

fleshed tuna, weighing an average of about

10 kilograms, migrate into the region from

southern tropical waters starting in midsummer

and into September, peaking in

numbers around late August. While tuna

fishing is truly exciting, it depends upon

weather and ocean conditions, and is best

left to resorts willing to go out with two

or more well-equipped boats that can help

each other out in case of breakdown so far

offshore.

From late September, serious anglers

are just starting to tap into fly-fishing

for salmon and steelhead in the region’s

relatively unspoiled streams. Rivers like the

Gold, Burman, Conuma, Tashish, Tahsis,

Artlish, Kayouk, and Zeballos (along with

numerous smaller streams) have good runs

of salmon and steelhead as well as resident

rainbow and cutthroat trout. Winter

steelheading is consistent well into the

following spring.

Relatively untouched by the last ice age,

the recently established Brooks Peninsula

Provincial Park contains many rare plant

species and unique geological formations,

along with kilometres of unspoiled, sandy

beaches that run to the edge of vast oldgrowth

forests. Sea otters have successfully

re-colonized the region. The descendants of

100 otters relocated from Amchitka Island

in Alaska before A-bomb tests 40 years ago,

these furry sea mammals captivate and

charm nature-watchers with their playing,

feeding, and grooming antics as they float

on their backs throughout the sound. The

Barrier Islands are also a favourite resting

ground for huge herds of bellowing sea lions.

The offshore waters are a major migratory

corridor for magnificent killer, humpback,

and Pacific grey whales.

Northeastern Vancouver Island

Major tidal currents through Queen

Charlotte and Broughton Straits drive wellaerated,

nutrient-rich water between the

B.C. mainland and northern Vancouver

Island. The coastal towns of Port Hardy, Port

McNeill, and Telegraph Cove have renowned

fishing for trophy chinook, coho, and halibut

right outside their ports. The northern faces

of Nigei and Balaklava Islands, around the

Deserters Group, and along the northern

and southern sides of the Gordon Islands are

easily reached hot spots. Productive trolling

haunts just minutes from Port Hardy include

Duval, Daphne, and Dillon points, Deer

Island, Hardy Bay, and the flats in front of

the airport.

From the villages of Port McNeill or

Telegraph Cove, fish the northern faces of

Hanson Island and the Plumper Islands,

both the northern and southern sides of

Malcolm Island, the western side of Parson

Island, and the southern face of Swanson

Island. Offshore, popular bottom fishing

destinations include Farquar Bank, Storm

and Pine islands, and Sealed Reef; Europa,

Weynton, Bolivar, and Ripple passages; off

Keogh and Morgan shoals; and between

Malcolm and Cormorant islands.

At the entrances to Kingcome and

Knight inlets, hundreds of protected

passages in the Broughton Archipelago and

other channel groups funnel and squeeze

dense schools of baitfish through Blackfish

Sound into Johnstone Strait. This feed-rich

region attracts bottomfish like halibut in

addition to massive runs of mature salmon

on their final spawning migrations. During

the summer, pods of killer whales congregate

to feed on this bounty of salmon. Daily

orca sightings are one of the region’s main

attractions, especially at Robson Bight south

of Telegraph Cove.

Trolling tackle for salmon here includes:

• small glow spoons (Gibbs-Delta G-Force,

Skinny G, Razorback, or Coho Killer; O’Ki

Kinetic Titan; Tomic; Pesca RSG or SPF; or

Luhr Jensen Coyote) two metres behind a

full-sized flasher

• bigger glow spoons (Gibbs-Delta G Force,

Wonder, or Gator; O’Ki Titan; Pesca RSG

or SPF; Luhr Jensen Coyote or Diamond

King; Tomic; or Williams Whitefish)

without flashers later in the summer

• anchovy (real, or Gibbs-Delta Big Bite

imitation) or small whole herring, set in

glow, chrome, or green-scale Rhys Davis or

O’Ki JDF teaser heads, two metres behind

a full-sized UV or “jelly fish” glow Gibbs-

Delta Guide Series, O’Ki “Betsy,” or Hot

Spot flasher

• octopus or cuttlefish hoochies (translucent

white, UV purple haze, Army Truck,

Goldstar OG153R, Tiger Prawn, greenand-white,

or glow-green splatterback)

with one-metre-long leaders behind a fullsized

flasher

• five- or six-inch (#158, #404 P.I., #500,

#530 glow, #602, or #639) Tomic, or fourinch

(#306 or #327) Lyman plugs.

Both hardware and fly patterns will

attract mature salmon returning to the

Nahwitti, Kokish, Nimpkish, Keogh, and

Cluxewe rivers. You will find exceptional

beach-fishing at each of these river’s

estuaries from late summer throughout

the autumn. Pick up a free copy of the

Recreation and Logging Road Guide (at North

Island Tourism B.C. information offices) for

directions to dozens of the area’s freshwater

lakes and streams. Victoria, Bonanza, or

Nimpkish lakes hold Dolly Varden char,

rainbow trout, and lunker cutthroat trout that

willingly take trolled hardware. In smaller,

seldom-fished lakes like Kathleen, Maynard,

or Benson, naïve rainbow and cutthroat trout

will strike almost any small lure.

Several fine museums and interpretive

centres are well worth visiting. At the

U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay, on

Cormorant Island, you will learn about First

Nations art, history, and culture. View the

remains of carved canoes and mortuary

poles, and marvel at the massive, exposed

log supports of a huge longhouse, during a

guided tour of Mamalilaculla, an abandoned

First Nations site on Village Island. The

Whale Interpretive Centre, located at the

end of Telegraph Cove’s historic boardwalk,

has a fascinating display of marine mammal

skeletons and whaling artifacts.

Mainland

The long glacier-etched fjords of Toba, Bute,

and Knight inlets are the places to find late

spring and early summer runs of white

chinook weighing 20 kilograms or more.

Later, anglers will also find trophy coho to

10 kilograms. Through August and into early

October, you can take a mixed bag of salmon

when big schools of willing pink and chum

return. Near the mouths of these inlets,

sandy bottoms hold some hefty halibut,

along with other bottomfish.

It’s the remote rivers and their estuaries

at the heads of these magnificent inlets

that attract die-hard fly-fishers for that

heli-fishing trip of a lifetime to cross off

their bucket lists. The broad estuary of the

Ahta River in Bond Sound is one place to

find mature salmon from August through to

October. Try for winter and spring steelhead

in the many feeder creeks and streams of

Knight, Kingcome and Bute inlets (like

the Homathko or Southgate rivers), along

with aggressive searun cutthroat and Dolly

Varden char anytime. The fish are not finicky,

and will hit almost any fly pattern, as well as

hardware.

With the bounty of mature salmon

returning to spawn each fall, these mainland

inlet rivers are black and grizzly bear

territory. Always be bear-aware when fishing

these streams.

26 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


Lodge Profile

Westcoast Fish Expeditions

BY DARCY NYBO

Westcoast Fish Expeditions

Are you looking for the fishing

experience of a lifetime? Westcoast

Fish Expeditions could be the

perfect match for you. With over 30 years of

experience as a fishing guide, owner/operator

Matt “Oly” Olcen started fishing in tidal pools

shortly after he learned to walk. Oly lives and

works in the small village of Ucluelet – with its

easy access to some of the best fishing grounds

on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Getting there is easier than you think.

You can take a B.C. Ferry from the mainland

to Victoria or Nanaimo, and drive to Ucluelet

from either ferry terminal. Or should you

prefer, take a flight aboard a wheeled aircraft

from the South Terminal in Vancouver to

the Long Beach Airport, where you’ll find a

shuttle bus waiting to take you into Ucluelet.

Once you arrive, there are plenty of places to

stay including campgrounds, motels, cabins,

B&Bs, and high-end resorts.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or the

most ardent of anglers, your fishing vacation

is sure to be the experience of a lifetime.

Whether you’re fishing with Oly or one of his

other guides, you can bet your trip will be on

the other side of ordinary.

Some have experienced white-knuckle

thrill rides on the open ocean, whereas to

others, it will seem merely smooth sailing;

everyone will feel the obligatory adrenaline

rush while landing the perfect fish. A charter

with Westcoast Fish Expeditions is about

fishing, and unplugging from today’s hectic

world. Put away your cell phone, listen and

look – you may hear the slap of a whale

breaching, catch sight of majestic sea lions

basking in the sun on a rocky islet, or spot

sleek seals bobbing in the water.

Once you’ve caught your fish, it’s time to

clean and pack them up. This is usually done

immediately after the catch. Bring your own

coolers so you can take all your cleaned and

bagged fish home with you. You can also have

your catch custom-processed, vacuum-packed,

frozen, smoked, or canned. Either way, it will

be a tasty reminder of your fishing adventure.

For more information about Westcoast

Fish Expeditions, go to their website at

westcoastfish.com. Call them toll-free at

1-877-333-8221, or e-mail at

info@westcoastfish.com.

www.suncruisermedia.com 27


Lodge Profile

Story by Steve Fennell

Westview

Marina & Lodge

A Secret Space in Tahsis, BC

Westview Marina & Lodge, located on the

West Coast of Vancouver Island, is tucked

away in the Village of Tahsis, BC at the head

of the Tahsis Inlet and is ready to serve

cruising vessels and sport fishers with its

array of marine services. Vessels up to 150

feet are welcome and reservations are highly

recommended from May to September.

Nonetheless, the full-service marina has 160

slips and will always try to accommodate

transient boaters.

Whether you’re cruising up or down the

island, Westview has many amenities that

haven`t been readily available to you for days.

The marina offers gas, diesel, and propane,

and you can give your generator a break with

the 15-, 30- and 50-amp shore power at the

slips. Laundry facilities, showers, ice, potable

water and free Wi-Fi are also available.

If boat service is required, a marine mechanic

is on-site and 24-hour parts delivery service is

an added bonus.

Anglers will no doubt appreciate the onsite

tackle and bait shop, plus the large cleaning

tables. Yet, when more supplies are needed,

the marina offers a courtesy car to visit Tahsis,

which has a small grocery and liquor store.

While in the village, you can also enjoy the

walking trails, The Tahsis Museum - “The Birth

Place of B.C.” - and the Artisan CO-OP.

At the marina every Friday night, the

licensed Marina Grill House Restaurant serves

a special buffet dinner June through September

from 5 pm to 8 pm, along with live music during

the popular “Rock the Dock,” held on the heated,

covered patio from 6 pm to closing. The marina’s

“dock camp fire gathering” is held nightly and

another area to mingle is at The Island Attitude

Coffee Café, located right at the dock. It serves a

variety of beverages for anytime of the day from

5 am to closing.

Tahsis and Westview Marina & Lodge

has become a favourite place for crew changes

as it’s only a two-hour car ride from Campbell

River on the east side of Vancouver Island. To

get here by boat – heading north up the Tahsis

Inlet – you won’t be able to see the marina until

you reach the very head of the inlet. It’s tucked

in and protected on the west side. Remember,

the marina monitors VHF channel 06 so you

can inform the marina of your arrival.

But whether you arrive by water or land,

Westview offers nightly accommodations

including cabins, suites, vacation homes and

condominiums, allowing visitors to take a

nice break from, and the chance to take in

everything the area offers.

Coordinates for the marina is N49*55’13

W126*39’ 78.5 and for all the details,

Westview Marina & Lodge in Tahsis, BC can

be reached at (250) 934-7672, (800) 992-

3252, info@westviewmarina.com or Watch

the video at https://www.youtube.com/

watch?v=yrJYbsfmdg8

28 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


Vessels up to 150 feet are

welcome and reservations are

highly recommended from

May to September. Boaters can

socialize and enjoy the popular

patio at the marina.

“BEST KEPT SECRET ON THE

WEST COAST OF VANCOUVER ISLAND”

2018 Charter All-Inclusive Package Special

“Bring Your Large Coolers. You Will Need Them When You FISH With US”

4 person Drive in Fishing/Catching

$1400 ea. CA $$ / $1200 ea. US $$*

• 4 Nights Lodging

• 3 Full days of Guided Fishing/Catching Salmon,

Halibut, Ling Cod & MORE

• Includes all your meals from our restaurant’s menu

while you are with us.

*Limited time offer must be BOOKED by May 15th, 2018 *US $$ at today’s exchange rate

(250) 934-7672 | info@westviewmarina.com | www.westviewmarina.com

www.suncruisermedia.com 29


BY STEVE FENNELL

VANCOUVER, COAST

& MOUNTAINS

Where Fishing Awaits Anglers All Year

30 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


Bryce Evans

www.suncruisermedia.com 31


Vancouver Coast & Mountains

With temperate weather

in the winter, blue skies

overhead in the summer,

and a diverse landscape –

like the Salish Sea to the west, and sparkling

rivers nestled in the north – B.C.’s Vancouver,

Coast and Mountains region is one of the

most dynamic, exciting places to fish in all of

North America. When you consider that you

could be downrigging for salmon in the Strait

of Georgia with the Vancouver skyline as a

backdrop one day, then casting for trout on

the Fraser River the next, it makes you realize

just how much this area can offer anglers. The

best thing is that you don’t have to travel far.

You can fish several great, remote spots in less

than an hour with still plenty of time to make

it home for dinner.

Pursuit Sportfishing

The Fraser River Valley and

Coast Mountains

It’s no secret that the Fraser River and its

surrounding lakes and streams rank high on

many anglers’ top-ten lists. No matter what

your game, the region’s expansive watershed

(larger than Washington State) has a salmon

run-count in the millions, and is home to

steelhead, rainbow trout, searun cutthroat

trout, largemouth bass, black crappie, and

monstrous white sturgeon. In the eastern

portion is the Coquihalla River, located just

outside of Hope. It runs parallel to Highway

5, and holds resident rainbow and bull trout,

plus some summer-run steelhead and coho

salmon in the fall. Kawkawa Lake is another

great spot, and is just a little more than four

kilometres east of Hope. There are many

private residences along its shoreline, which

means access is limited, but you will be

treated to its high population of kokanee as

well as the occasional rainbow and cutthroat

trout. As it gets busy in the summer, it’s

large enough at 77 hectares (191 acres) to

escape the crowds at the southeast side or the

northwest bay of the lake. Kawkawa is closed

annually from December to February.

If you prefer to get your feet wet, try

the fly-fishing on the Skagit River. Its clear

waters, towering trees, and snow-capped

mountains will make you feel like you’re in a

scene from a Lotto 649 commercial. It’s open

for anglers from July through October, but

the fishing is best in August and September.

The rainbows will strike on fly patterns, and

use casting spoons or spinners for bull trout

that lurk in the deep pools.

On the southern side of the lower

Fraser Valley, Chilliwack Provincial Park is

48 kilometres (30 miles) from the town of

Chilliwack. Located among alpine forests

and jagged mountain peaks, Chilliwack Lake

is popular for rainbow and cutthroat trout,

kokanee, and Dolly Varden char. The park

has a gradual single-wide boat launch, and

there’s a day-use parking area for vehicles

and trailers. Lakeside casting can also be

enjoyed from the sandbars at Paleface and

Depot creeks on the lake’s east side. You can

also fish for rainbow, cutthroat, and Dolly

Varden at nearby Cultus Lake Provincial Park,

approximately 47 kilometres (29 miles) away.

No matter which park you choose, both offer

camping and several services for outdoor

enthusiasts.

Further west on this side of the lower

Fraser Valley is the Chilliwack-Vedder River

system. Known simply as “The Vedder,” it’s

considered the top choice for winter steelhead

fishing between December and late May.

While runs after July 1 are considered short

and sporadic, the action peaks in the fall with

rainbow, cutthroat, and bull trout along with

hatchery-reared, summer-run steelhead and

mature coho, chum, or chinook salmon.

Flowing north between Abbotsford and

Chilliwack along Highway 1 is the Sumas

River, where basic bottom-bouncing or baitand-bobber

fishing can make for a successful

day. Additionally, Mill Lake in Abbotsford is

a popular place for families or solo anglers

to fish. In summer, the lake is considered a

local hot spot for largemouth bass, crappie,

and sunfish. Thanks to the stocking efforts

of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of British

Columbia, go after actively feeding rainbow

trout in spring or fall.

32 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


Peniuk Sportfishing

the wider part of the river to get to mature

salmon returning to spawn.

When trolling the larger lakes (like

Harrison, Pitt, Stave, Chehalis, and Alouette),

seaworthy fishing boats are recommended,

as well as some marine experience, since

strong winds can quickly create white-capped

rough water. You can also cast from shore

at the mouths of feeder creeks to try for

Dolly Varden, cutthroat, and rainbow trout.

Spincast small lures at Doctor’s Point, 20-

Mile Bay, Cascade Bay, or at the mouths of

Cogburn and Hale creeks. At the mouth of

the Lillooet River, you’ll hook into springtime

trout along with mature salmon in the fall.

Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge

allows access to Stave and Alouette lakes.

These lakes hold big lake char and good

numbers of great-tasting kokanee. A little

more than an hour from the entrance of

Golden Ears Provincial Park (past Mission on

Highway 7) is Chehalis Lake, where you can

catch whitefish, lake char, and kokanee. The

Chehalis River is also a great spot to fish for

mature salmon in the fall, winter steelhead,

and resident cutthroat trout. Smaller Rolley

Lake (in Rolley Lake Provincial Park, about

20 minutes from Mission) is known for its

rainbow and cutthroat trout, Dolly Varden

char, kokanee, and bullheads.

While it’s great for younger anglers to

experience the water, a terrific side-trip on the

southern side of the Fraser is the Fort Langley

National Historic Site. Here at the birthplace

of British Columbia, and an authentic

Hudson’s Bay Company trading post, kids

can try their hands at blacksmithing or gold

panning and enjoy costumed storytellers of

the 1800s.

Find all the Action on the Fraser

River

The town of Hope serves as a great starting

point to see everything that the Fraser Valley

can offer. If you head westward along Highway

1, a rest area with parking allows easy access

to Schkam Lake (Lake of the Woods). The lake

is stocked with rainbow trout, and can make

for a pleasant afternoon. Or take the Harrison

West Lake Road from Harrison where you

can fish Elbow, Grace, or Weaver. Just to the

northeast of Harrison Hot Springs are two

more popular fishing lakes: Deer and Hicks.

Shore casting with small spoons,

spinners, and silver-bodied flies is popular for

cutthroat trout during the spring, when they

hunt for Harrison River salmon smolts as

they make their way to the ocean. In the late

summer and fall, a boat is needed to access

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www.suncruisermedia.com 33


Vancouver Coast & Mountains

Perry Mack

Pursuit Sportfishing

An interesting fact is that once mature

chum salmon are in freshwater for a few

days, they change from silvery-bright to

recognizable mottled purple-and-green

spawning colours. The look of spawning

males, when they develop hooked jaws with

menacing canine-like teeth, gives these strong

and aggressive fish the moniker “dog salmon.”

They arrive around mid-autumn in the Stave

River (below the Ruskin Dam) or at the mouth

at the Fraser River.

The upper Pitt River can be accessed only

from the very north end of Pitt Lake, and is a

trek for more adventurous, die-hard anglers.

Yet with a strong will, and all the tackle you

need, the area offers highest-quality stream

fishing with light fishing pressure for Dolly

Varden (look for them near spawning salmon,

and in deep holes), salmon, and trout. At

the other end of the fishing spectrum, enjoy

plunking a worm on the bottom for searun

cutthroat trout in the quieter flows of familyfriendly

Kanaka Creek in Maple Ridge.

Heading further westward towards

Metro Vancouver, you’ll find the Buntzen

Lake Recreation Area. Surrounded by

towering, tree-lined mountains with clear

water, the lake is great for families and – with

generous stockings of rainbow trout from

the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC –

for fishing. You’ll also find FFSBC-stocked

rainbow trout at other inner-city lakes,

including Deer, Sasamat, Lafarge, and Como.

While popular on warm, sunny days, it’s best

to arrive earlier in the day, and no later than

mid-morning, as park officials are known to

stop letting people into the park for safety

reasons. It’s best to call the warden’s office in

advance.

One of the most significant facts about

the Fraser River – and there are many – is that

the river is home to monstrous sturgeon. On

July 20, 2012, a British couple landed and

then released a Fraser River sturgeon that

measured 3.76 metres (12.3 feet) in length,

weighing an estimated 499 kilograms (1,100

pounds) – a possible world record for the

largest freshwater fish ever caught on a rod

and reel. In June 2016, CTV news reported

that pro fishing guide Steve Kaye landed a

close second to the 2012 fish, bringing in a

3.4-metre (11.2-foot) specimen weighing an

estimated 340 kilograms (750 pounds).

Even though an average-sized sturgeon

from the Fraser is approximately half of these

lengths, you would swear by the relentless

fight that you were bringing in a recordsetter.

Sturgeon fishing on the Fraser is best

done with professional guides, who have

specialized jet boats to navigate the currents

and traverse the shallows, big-game fishing

gear, and the best baits. These pros will put

you in the prime locations to battle one of

these prehistoric behemoths. Anglers come

from around the world to test their skills in

this catch-and-release fishery. Don’t go home

without booking your own trip in 2018.

Before you hit the water anywhere in this

region, perhaps visit the local tackle shops to

get insider information. Most of the staff are

local, ardent anglers who know the area well

and share their knowledge of what bait to use

as well as when and where to fish that time of

year. Most of all, regardless of your methods,

fishing is a great pastime in this region and

can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of what

type of freshwater species you’re after.

Vancouver Harbour, Howe Sound,

and the Fraser River Mouth

With such bustling areas as Granville

Island or Robson Street and the city’s

towering skyline, some find it hard to believe

that Vancouver attracts anglers by the masses.

34 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


Sewell’s Marina

Delta Skinny G or Razorback, O’Ki Titan, Silver

Horde Coho Killer, Pesca, North Pacific TKO,

or Luhr Jensen Coyote) in colours like police

car, green-and-glow, “Bon Chovy,” “Outfitter,”

“Gut Bomb,” or army truck, with simply a miniflasher

or no flasher at all. Additionally, this

is also one of the best times to set traps for

Dungeness crab, and prawns.

Come spring, May is the time to navigate

three to eight kilometres (two to five miles)

south of Bowen Island for chinook. Use an

anchovy in a glow-green teaser head, two

metres (about six feet) astern, with a full-sized

flasher (like those from Hot Spot, Gibbs-Delta,

or O’Ki). You’ll want to run your rig at depths

between 25 to 35 metres (80 to 115 feet). The

easiest ways to detect schools of bait fish are

to look overhead for seabirds, or to interpret

readings on your depth sounder.

Throughout summer and into November,

the area is the middle ground for massive runs

of mature salmon returning from the Pacific

to spawn. When the temperatures rise in July,

white chinook start their migration into Howe

Sound to the Squamish and Cheakamus river

systems.

To experience these hard-fighting

Squamish River whites, troll slowly along the

shoreline from the entrance of Horseshoe Bay

north past Sunset Beach, using a flasher and

Opportunities for fishing take place within

minutes of leaving shore, and what’s more

interesting is the quality of the fish that

can be caught. A testament to this is the

number of charter companies and plethora of

fishing boats that can be seen in the harbour,

experiencing some of the most active fishing

grounds anywhere.

The winter waters of the Pacific coast

are very clear, which makes them ideal for

anglers to target feeder chinook. These

bright, silvery fish can weigh between four to

seven kilograms. The name “feeder” reflects

their purpose at this stage in their lifecycle:

they are there simply to feed. In other areas,

like Washington State, they are known as

“blackmouth salmon,” but north of the border

they are referred to as juvenile chinook

salmon. Confused yet? Depending on their

size, location, and stage in their lifecycle,

they are also called “kings,” “springs,” “feeder

kings,” and “tyee.” They can be found from as

far north as upper Howe Sound, around the

Defense Islands, Hutt Island, Tunstall Bay on

Bowen Island, and to the south throughout

urban English Bay.

The clarity of the water in winter allows

you to troll a small spoon (such as the Gibbs-

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Vancouver Coast & Mountains

anchovy in a teaser head at depths of 25 to 35 metres (80 to 115 feet).

Be sure to check Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s website (http://www.

dfo-mpo.gc.ca) for the locations of any rockfish conservation areas in

Howe Sound, which are closed to all fishing.

In the summer, freshwater fishing for coho, steelhead, the occasional

searun cutthroat trout, and chinook is found on the North Shore

along the Capilano, Seymour, and Lynn rivers. More efforts can be

made for coho, searun cutthroat trout, and bottomfish by casting

from the beach at Cates Park, Furry Creek, or the mouths of the rivers

previously mentioned.

Some of the key fishing spots are Vancouver Harbour, and in

front of the Fraser River estuary. There’s continuous action from late

July to October, when mature coho and chinook return to the Capilano

River and the rivers of Burrard Inlet.

About an hour from Burrard Inlet, off the shores of Richmond

or Delta, coho, chinook, pink, chum, and sockeye hold offshore as

they wait for the first heavy autumn rains to bring cooler water

temperatures and higher water levels before heading up the Fraser

River and its tributaries.

The lure of choice here is an anchovy in a glow teaser head two

metres (about six feet) behind a full-sized flasher (such as Gibbs-

Delta Bon Chovy, O’Ki Gold Betsy, or Hot Spot UV Purple). Spoons

(custom-bendable Sea Four lures, Tomic, Gibbs-Delta G-Force, Skinny

G, Coho Killer, Razorback, Pesca, O’Ki Titan, or Luhr Jensen Coyote)

in green-and-glow, “kinetic,” “Bon Chovy,” “Trailhead,” army truck,

“Real Anchovy Image,” “Outfitter,” or “Gut Bomb” colours, and white

octopus (#OAL 12R) or double-glow hoochies (OG208R or OG140R)

will work well, too.

A couple of other great spots to cast for pink salmon are at the

head of Burrard Inlet, as the fish make their way to the Indian River,

or at all the previously mentioned beach fishing spots as they travel

to rivers at the head of Howe Sound. Small pink lures such as Buzz

Bombs, Mepps Aglia, Gibbs-Delta Sil-Vex spinners, or flies can be used

to catch this highly popular species.

Sockeye salmon are also a prime catch among anglers for their

deep, red-coloured flesh and excellent flavour. In efforts to net one,

use the same bright red or pink hoochies you would for pink salmon

behind similarly coloured flashers, but you should add more flash with

dummy (also called teaser) flashers – like the Tomic Sonic or Gibbs-

Delta Flashlines – off downrigger weights to simulate a school of

feeding sockeye. As there have been closures for conservation reasons,

always be sure to check Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s website

(http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca) before going fishing for sockeye salmon.

Vancouver Harbour and the mouth of the Fraser River hold large

hatchery-reared white chinook, which are popular among anglers

throughout the Lower Mainland. Try using a jumbo whole herring in

a Rhys Davis teaser head, or an anchovy in a green-scale Rhys Davis or

O’Ki JDF teaser head and a flasher, at depths from 20 metres (65 feet)

to the bottom inside the harbour. At the mouth of the Fraser River,

fish at depths of between 15 and 35 metres (50 to 115 feet).

Further north, the Squamish and Cheakamus rivers are noted

for their excellent autumn salmon fishery and winter steelhead. The

Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC also stocks a number of lakes

with rainbow and cutthroat trout in the Squamish, Whistler, and

Pemberton region, while other lakes have healthy populations of Dolly

Varden and kokanee.

If you take Highway 99 north from Vancouver you’ll have access

to many lakes, including Browning, Brohm, Alice, Edith, and Stump

near Squamish. In the resort town of Whistler, try hitting Alpha, Alta,

and Green lakes. Just north of Pemberton, more lakes include Ivey,

Blackwater, Gates, Anderson, and Birkenhead.

If you’re the adventurous type, it’s worth the trip to Garibaldi

Provincial Park to hike to beautiful lakes like Garibaldi, Cheakamus,

and Mamquam. Hire a floatplane and fly to other stunningly scenic

mountain lakes including Widgeon, Fire, Thomas, and Lovely Water for

wild rainbows.

In the suburb of Surrey, the Nicomekl, Serpentine, and Campbell

rivers attract angling crowds, especially during autumn for mature coho

or chinook. Resident rainbow, cutthroat, and steelhead trout are also

game. Many anglers just use a worm bounced off the bottom or drifted

beneath a small bobber. In the spring, try whipping a fly or two in the

mouths of these small rivers (where they drain into Boundary Bay)

when migrating salmon smolts are the target of searun cutthroat trout.

To fill your fishing fix during the week, urban lakes such as Green

Timbers in Surrey or Sanctuary Pond in Vancouver are good bets, as

the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC stocks these lakes with healthy

numbers of catchable-sized rainbows.

What’s nice about this area is that, after an outing of fishing (and

a quick clean-up), Vancouver and its surrounding cities of the Lower

Mainland await with the cool vibes of city life. If you’re a sports fan, the

Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club plays from March to October, while

the B.C. Lions of the CFL is in its prime from June to November at B.C.

Place. Nearby is Rogers Arena, where the Vancouver Canucks vie for

supremacy, albeit rather poorly, in the NHL from October to April.

All the while, Vancouver’s downtown bustles with activity. There

are museums and art galleries, and the shopping on Robson Street is

second to none. Nearby is Granville Island with its popular fresh food

36 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


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www.suncruisermedia.com 37


Vancouver Coast & Mountains

market, art galleries, artisans’ workshops,

craft breweries, restaurants, and marine

supply stores.

Across the harbour, in North Vancouver,

you can learn about the life cycle of salmon

at the Capilano River Regional Park and

Hatchery (admission is free). In the summer,

Richmond hosts its popular Asian Night

Market, held next to the River Rock Casino

and Resort.

If you find yourself in Richmond, visit

the historic fishing village of Steveston, home

to a few National Historic Sites including

the Gulf of Georgia Cannery and Britannia

Shipyards, as well as Fisherman’s Wharf. The

village itself is the setting for ABC’s hit series

“Once Upon a Time.”

The Sunshine Coast to Powell River

The jagged shoreline of this region shifts into

dense, towering evergreen trees that rise up

along the mountainsides. You can admire

Orcas dipping in and out of view, observe

bears grazing for their next meal, or watch as

bald eagles soar overhead. A fishing haven,

anglers troll with downriggers in efforts to

land their monster catch of the day. Being

relatively isolated is the Sunshine Coast’s

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greatest benefit for anglers. The only way to

get here is by boat, seaplane, or a B.C. Ferry

from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale or Comox to

Powell River.

The boating here is excellent. Marinas

up the coast cater to thousands of visitors

all year with transient moorage, fuel, marine

supplies, accommodations, even spas. Fishing

charters are ready for hire and are eager to

take you out.

On the Sunshine Coast, run lines for

feeder chinook in what is known as the “gap,”

the Shoal Channel between Gibsons harbour

and Keats Island, then along the shoreline

from Salmon Rock to Gower Point, around

the corner from Camp Byng and Roberts

Creek to the Trail Islands, Sargeant Bay, and

Halfmoon Bay, just west of Sechelt. In June

to September, mature coho, chum, pink, and

chinook salmon are the prime targets for

many anglers.

Further north, there are many spots

for salmon and bottom feeders. Some areas

include in and around Pender Harbour,

where you can fish at Bargain Harbour, Bjerre

Shoal, Agamemnon Channel, and Quarry

Bay. There are also sharp drop-offs at Ackland

Reef, Nelson Rock, and Fearney Point on

Nelson Island. If you cross Malaspina Strait,

simply troll the east end of Texada Island

(Point Upwood or the “pilings”) or the many

productive reefs and shoals off Sangster (Seal

Reef to Sangster’s Wall) and Lasqueti (Poor

Man’s Rock or Young Point) islands.

With scenery so striking, it’s worth the

break from fishing to go sightseeing. You’ll

enjoy a visit to Egmont, at the mouth of the

Sechelt Inlet, where the tidal currents create

a swirling maelstrom of whirlpools, eddies,

and surf. Visit at the right time of day and

year and you’ll see kayakers riding two-metre

(six-foot) standing waves that form in the

Skookumchuk Narrows.

It’s also worth a side-trip up Jervis Inlet,

including a stop at Princess Louisa Inlet.

While only eight kilometres long (about five

miles), Princess Louisa Inlet consists of an

incredible granite-walled gorge that rises

sharply from the water’s edge up to 2,100

metres (nearly 7,000 feet), attracting hikers

and recreational boaters from all over the

world every year.

A prime time to come is in the spring,

when the melting mountain snowpack

creates up to 60 waterfalls. Forty-metre (130-

foot) Chatterbox Falls is one of the more

popular natural marvels and should not to be

missed. What’s more, the area has a number

of campsites, a ranger cabin, and picnic

shelter. If you arrive with your boat, there is

a mooring buoy, stern pins, and a boat and

dinghy dock.

Services abound in Powell River, which

makes it an ideal starting point for a fishing

trip or to stock up on supplies during one.

If you navigate to Scotch Fir Point to the

south from May to September (between the

“Hulks” breakwater in front of the town’s

paper mill to Myrtle Rocks), you can catch

some action from salmon or bottomfish.

Other hot spots are located on the western

side of Texada Island from Blubber Bay (on

the northern tip) south to Kiddies Point,

Gillies Bay on the centre-west side of Texada

and along the southern side of Harwood

Island, just a few kilometres to the north

across Algerian Passage, and around Rebecca

Rocks.

If you’re not familiar with the area’s local

lakes, perhaps hire a guide in Powell River

to lead you to the mega-sized wild cutthroat

trout (especially in December). While

most lakes are open all year, Powell and its

tributaries, Inland and Goat lakes, close from

November 1 to March 31.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

stocks many of the region’s stillwaters with

rainbow trout and kokanee. Try your skill

casting lures from the beach or from your

boat at Garden Bay, Hotel, Trout, Mixal,

Carlson, Crowston, McNair, Ruby, and

Sakinaw lakes.

Desolation Sound is another very

beautiful destination in this region. At

8,449 hectares (20,878 acres), it’s the largest

marine park in the province. Among the

many activities that can be enjoyed here,

it’s recommended to take a kayak, and

paddle with a guide to explore more than

60 kilometres (some 37 miles) of winding

shoreline, several islands, and isolated coves.

You won’t regret it.

“The Sound” is a great place for boaters

with its three major anchorages: Prideaux

Haven, Tenedos Bay, and Grace Harbour.

While especially busy in the summer, its

warm waters make it ideal for swimming or

scuba diving. A series of backcountry trails

lead to secluded lakes.

The Sunshine Coast offers excellent

fishing all year, and you can create as many

fond memories as you would like. Add in all

the extracurricular activities in the series of

communities, with arts festivals, parades,

and bike races, and you can enjoy heightened

experiences with every visit. For all of the

details on the activities, fishing and things to

do, visit www.sunshinecoastcanada.com.

38 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


www.suncruisermedia.com 39


Thompson

Okanagan

Similkameen

BY DAVID C. KIMBLE

This fishy nirvana can be all things

to all anglers. The most expert

anglers in the world can gather

here to compete in derbies and

tournaments, like the World Fly Fishing

Championship that was once held near

Kamloops. On the opposite end of the angling

spectrum, beginning fishermen might take

their first lessons in the fine art of angling

at one of the numerous stocked urban ponds

carefully supervised by local outdoor fishing

clubs. Anglers visiting this fabulous region

often combine their sense of adventure with

their desire to catch a variety of sport fish

using a plethora of techniques. The true

enjoyment of bringing family members to

share the marvellous fishing, along with all

the wonderful amenities and activities which

this magical recreational destination has to

offer, bonds families together and creates

lifelong memories.

Diversity best describes the area’s

incredible fishing. With deep-lake rainbow

trout weighing up to 12 kilograms (26.5

40 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


David Wei

pounds), anglers from around the globe will

travel here in search of their “personal best,”

and may well fulfill their dreams. Others will

be casting for steelhead trout in the region’s

mighty rivers, or for fearless bass in lowland

lakes. They may try to catch record-sized

kokanee from Okanagan or Kalamalka lakes,

fly-fish for willing stocked eastern brook char,

or even target mature chinook salmon in

many specific lakes and rivers.

Trophy-sized rainbow trout lurk deep

in the frigid waters of this fishing mecca’s

large, lower-elevation lakes; however, it is the

high-elevation lakes, where anglers can fish

from smaller craft like car-top boats, pontoon

boats, and float tubes, that draw families

as well as solitary anglers. The hills and

mountains that surround these valleys are

dotted with thousands of rainbow trout-filled

lakes. Fly casters can try to fool wary trout

with their special fur-and-feather creations,

and more relaxed anglers can just pull gang

trolls and hooks baited with worms; all are

happy to provide that night’s fish dinner.

Whether visitors want to stay at a luxury

resort, in a rustic cabin, in a fully-equipped

RV, or in a pup tent, it will be the thrill of

catching fish that draws anglers to this

spectacular part of the province.

The area’s marvellous fishing and other

outdoor activities, with accommodations

ranging from economical campgrounds to

luxury resorts, offer growing families some

of the best value for their hard-earned

money. Anglers visiting this part of the world

might well find themselves speeding down

a champagne-powder run in the morning

and battling a giant rainbow trout from

Okanagan, Kalamalka, or Shuswap lakes that

same afternoon. Visitors can take winery

tours, mountain bike along the old Kettle

River railroad trestles, golf some of British

Columbia’s best courses, or combine any of

these exciting local activities with the region’s

sensational fishing.

Thompson

A few drops of water dripping from the

toe of the Thompson Glacier, high in the

mountains west of the small community of

Valemount on the Yellowhead Highway, mark

the birth of a truly awesome fishing river. As

more drops gather, they form a rivulet that

soon turns into a creek and, when joined

by other creeks and rivulets, rapidly bond

into the mighty North Thompson River. The

North Thompson will pass the communities

of Blue River, Avola, and Vavenby before

it is joined by the Raft River and the large

Clearwater River, which drains most of

Wells Gray Park. Already huge, the North

Thompson flows south, picking up more

creeks and small rivers. Fifteen kilometres

(nine miles) north of Kamloops, it is joined

by the South Thompson River – which has

slowly meandered 55 kilometres (34 miles)

from its beginning at Little Shuswap Lake – to

form the now giant Thompson River, which

will flow into Kamloops Lake, and then exit

at Savona. It will continue in a meandering

course westward through a broad, desertlike

valley area. At Ashcroft, the Thompson

Canyon begins, and the river turns southwest

to its eventual confluence with the mighty

Fraser River.

The area is known for its exhilarating

fishing. Anglers can wade and cast along

the magnificent Thompson and its

tributaries, including the Clearwater and

South Thompson. Every steelheader in the

world has heard about the huge, sea-going

rainbows caught near Spences Bridge, and

each year, anglers anxiously check the fishing

regulations for special openings.

It is however, the high-jumping

Kamloops rainbow trout for which the

area is best known. These fantastic sport

fish are found in literally a thousand lakes

surrounding the cities of Kamloops and

Merritt. At ice-off in the spring, anglers

swarm into the region. They can find easy-tocatch

fish in the upper water-columns soon

after the ice clears.

Later, dry-fly devotees can sight-cast

to the surface-feeding fish gorging on

prolific, early- through late-summer hatches

of mayflies, caddisflies, and big travelling

sedges. In autumn, when fish are loading up

for the lean winter months, give them a big,

juicy-looking leech, dragonfly nymph, or scud

imitation … but it’s still a great time to fish

with dry patterns, like the water-boatman.

Along with very special lakes set

aside just for fly-anglers, there are dozens

of excellent family lakes that all include

campgrounds, cabins, and even safe

playgrounds for children. Many of the lakes

are easy to drive to with the family car;

however, always check conditions on the

access roads before you begin your trip.

Some are very steep and rough, requiring the

use of a four-wheel-drive vehicle at certain

times of the year. If you are ever in doubt

about the access, contact your destination

resort; most will be happy to transport you

and your equipment after meeting you at a

specific pick-up point. The Thompson area

also has numerous fishing destinations for

advanced anglers that are accessible only by

horseback or ATVs. There are also specific

wilderness areas set aside just for canoes,

where portaging might well be needed. There’s

something for every angler in the magnificent

Thompson area.

The rolling, arid country surrounding

the Thompson is well-known to anglers as

one of the very best and most diverse sport

fishing destinations in the world. The angling

for rainbow trout (known locally as Kamloops

trout) is so good that the lakes surrounding

www.suncruisermedia.com 41


Thompson Okanagan

the city of Kamloops were used for the 1993

World Fly Fishing Championships. The

Thompson River itself offers good fishing

throughout the year. There are many points

of access to the river along Highway 1 from

Lytton to Savona, or from Spences Bridge

to Ashcroft on the eastern side of the river

along Spatsum Road. During summer, try

fishing for rainbow trout, Dolly Varden char,

and whitefish. Cast flies, small spoons, and

spinners, or drift-fish bait like worms or

single salmon eggs.

Far north in the Thompson region,

Wells Gray Provincial Park is an angler’s

dream destination. The Clearwater River,

which merges with the Thompson River

at the community of Blue River, is totally

mind-boggling for anglers in search for giant

chinook salmon or rainbow trout. Clearwater

Lake is linked to both Azure and Hobson

lakes through a series of portages. The park

is full of trails that lead anglers to wild, troutfilled

lakes that might only see a lure several

times in an entire year. Between Barriere and

Kamloops, anglers owe it to themselves to

drop a line in Johnson, Knouff, Heffley, and

Paul lakes. The Freshwater Fisheries Society

of BC stocks these prolific waters annually.

Northwest of Kamloops, the Bonaparte

Plateau houses dozens of impressive fishing

lakes, with Bonaparte, Tranquille, and Red

lakes offering anglers tackle-busting trophy

trout in some of the most beautiful B.C.

wilderness settings.

Other nearby lakes include Eagan,

HiHium, Loon, Caverhill, Bare, Young, and

Machete. All boast excellent fishing for

rainbow trout to two kilograms (four to five

pounds) in weight. Note that Machete Lake

has a two-fish limit on its wild, unstocked

kokanee. Use a four-wheel drive vehicle,

or hike, to smaller jewels hidden in the

backcountry that have great fishing in

pristine, uncrowded settings.

South of Kamloops, anglers should

definitely check out the fabulous fishing in

the Lac le Jeune and Roche Lake provincial

parks. Both angling destinations offer family

fishing and camping sites, as well as several

premier destinations sought out by advanced

fly anglers.

Near the community of Logan Lake,

many angling tourists seek out Face, Tunkwa,

and Leighton lakes, which offer sensational

trophy rainbow trout fishing along with

resorts catering to either true wildernessseeking

anglers, or family fun getaways.

These fine resorts act as base camps for many

anglers who wish to try the dozens of satellite

lakes (like Mamit, Pasca, Bose, Calling, and

Island) that surround them. And don’t ignore

Logan Lake itself. The little lake, right in the

middle of town, has some surprisingly big

rainbows and excellent late-spring fishing.

Closer to Merritt, there are resorts on

private lakes catering to high-end fly anglers.

The Douglas Lake Ranch offers nine lakes that

past owners created as reservoirs for their

cattle. Someone came up with the brilliant

idea to stock them with rainbow trout, and

the rest is history. The ranch now carefully

manages the stocks of trout itself, making

certain that there is no over-fishing or overstocking.

The results are much larger fish

where only a few anglers might pay to fish

each week. Anglers travel to the Douglas Lake

Ranch from all over the world, and stay at

the luxurious Stoney Lake Lodge. The other

private lake in the area is Corbett, which also

offers exceptional angling on the privately

stocked reservoir lake, and an exceptional

resort with luxurious cabins.

You’ll also find great rainbow trout

fishing in the turquoise chain of Kentucky-

Alleyne Lakes, on your way south through

picturesque Aspen Grove via Highway 5A

towards Princeton. West of 5A, Edna Lake

(off Iron Mountain Road), the chain of small

scenic lakes along the Kane Valley Road

(Harmon, Little Harmon, Englishman, Upper,

and Lower Kane), and Shea Lake (off Voght

Valley Road) hold eastern brook char and

rainbow trout. Some of these lakes open

for winter ice fishing. Northeast, along 5A

towards Kamloops, Nicola, Stump, Peter

Hope, Lundbom, Marquart, and the Pimainus

Lake chain hold willing rainbows to two

kilograms (four to five pounds) with the odd,

much larger lunker. Travel north off Highway

5 to Lac Le Jeune, McConnell, Surrey, Stake,

Lodgepole, and Walloper lakes for plenty of

easy-to-catch, stocked rainbows.

In addition to rainbow trout, Black and

Horseshoe lakes (in the Roche Lake chain)

are home to chunky eastern brook char to

two kilograms (four to five pounds). These

colourfully spotted char rise readily to dry

flies, and are equally willing to strike lures or

bait while ice fishing.

Freshwater salmon fishing can be

excellent in the Thompson River system

as the runs of mature chinook come up

the Fraser River and then branch into the

Thompson, the North Thompson and its

tributaries (especially the Clearwater), and

the South Thompson and Shuswap rivers.

Limited salmon openings can be found on

these various river systems as well as in

Mabel Lake, east of Enderby. There are always

more salmon in Mabel Lake than the small

hatchery at Kingfisher can utilize; and those

salmon, trying to get up-river past the Wilsey

Dam on the upper Shuswap River (where

unfortunately, there is no fish ladder), will

just die without spawning.

Okanagan

The Okanagan Valley is one destination where

many visiting anglers combine their sport

with many of the dozens of other exciting

activities that the Valley has to offer. There are

fancy spas, gourmet restaurants, and unique

wine cellars. There are mountain bike trails

and ATV trails. In addition to the fantastic

downhill skiing areas, there are trails – crosscountry

ski, snowmobile, and backpacking

– that allow people to disappear into the

wilderness for days. And in summer, don’t

forget that people come just to lay on the

beach, stock up on the abundant fresh fruit,

and do a little swimming or golf. Whatever

the personal reasons, combining any tourist

activities with the magnificent local fishing

makes for even more memorable Okanagan

vacations.

Many visitors will include a few days of

guided fishing on the large lowland lakes as an

important part of their Okanagan vacations.

Other visitors will drive up to one of the many

higher-elevation resorts in the surrounding

hills that rent boats, cabins, or even camping

sites individually suited for everything from

huge RVs down to very small pup tents.

While camping is fun, the combination of

camping and great fishing is better. Much

better. Fishing destinations in the Okanagan

are distinctly divided between large, valleybottom

lakes, and smaller high-elevation

lakes.

Big lakes of the Okanagan include

Shuswap, Mara, Mabel, Kalamalka, and

Okanagan. Each lake has specific reasons

for anglers to choose them. Often, it is

the species of fish the anglers are seeking.

Shuswap, Mara, and Mabel lakes have healthy

populations of rainbow trout, lake char,

bull trout (char) and kokanee salmon, with

most anglers targeting the rainbow trout,

which often weigh up to 4.5 kilograms (10

pounds). Kalamalka is known for huge lake

char weighing up to 18 kilograms (40 pounds)

and very large kokanee with fish over three

kilograms (six or seven pounds) caught each

year. While Okanagan Lake also contains

many large kokanee, it is the giant rainbow

trout – weighing up to 12 kilograms (26

pounds) – which attract truly avid anglers.

42 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


CLOCKWISE: An elderly

couple enjoy fishing from one

of five public fishing docks on

Yellow Lake. Beaver Lake on

the Aberdeen Plateau. Rental

boats and canoes await

guests at the Beaver Lake

Resort east of Lake Country.

David Kimble

David Kimble

David Kimble

The best bet for visiting anglers pursuing their

personal best fish on these very large lakes

is using a local guide service. Local guides

provide safe, comfortable boats, the proper

tackle, and the knowledge of where, when,

and how to catch trophy fish.

The higher-altitude lakes found in the

foothills surrounding the Okanagan Valley get

the heaviest fishing pressure; however, thanks

to the Freshwater Fisheries Society of British

Columbia (who stock about 800 lakes and

streams with over eight million trout every

year), these lakes all offer excellent fishing.

Resorts with either cabins, or campsites

suitable for tenting and RVs, service many

of the Okanagan’s high lakes. These resorts

also rent boats and motors, and many of

them even rent rods and reels to entry-level

anglers who wish to give fishing a try for the

very first time. The resort owners are also

free with advice about the fishing in nearby

lakes, including how to get there, and what to

use in each lake in order to catch your limit

of excellent rainbow trout. Every resort has

cleaning tables, and they will be happy to

show you how to clean your fish if you are new

to the sport. The fancier resorts will even cook

your catch, along with some gourmet side

dishes, for your dining pleasure. However,

rolling your cleaned trout in flour and panfrying

them, especially over an open campfire,

just can’t be beat.

Northeast of Kelowna, there are several

lakes in the area known as the Aberdeen

LAKE TURNOVER by David Wei

Hungry after winter’s deprivations, the

fish of early spring will hit just about any

bait, lure, or fly. About two weeks after

the ice completely melts, lakes’ deeper

waters charge to the surface. This denser,

oxygen-depleted ‘turnover’ water slows

the fishing for about two weeks. Vigorous

winds, stirring up the surface to mix and

re-oxygenate lakes, signal the start of the

main fishing season. Warming water, along

with increased oxygen levels, bring the

first major hatches of the larvae of aquatic

insects like chironomids, dragonflies,

damselflies, caddisflies, and mayflies, along

with invertebrates like leeches and scuds

(Hyalella and Gammarus shrimp) – the main

sources of food for trout, char, and kokanee.

www.suncruisermedia.com 43


Thompson Okanagan

CLOCKWISE: Yellow

Lake borders Highway

3 east of Keremeos. An

assortment of flies.

.

David Wei David Kimble

Plateau which are especially popular with

visitors to the beautiful Okanagan Valley.

Beaver Lake is easy to get to, and offers a safe

environment for families to introduce the

children to the great outdoors. Nearby is the

Dee Lake chain, which was actually visited

by many Hollywood movie stars in its past

history. Other lakes on the fish-producing

plateau include Oyama and Nicklen, both of

which have full-facility resorts. The Aberdeen

Plateau has several hundred wilderness lakes

for more advanced anglers, many of whom

use the resort lakes as a base camp while they

explore a new lake each day.

Mabel Lake Provincial Park, north of

Lumby, is a very popular park where campers

FLY FISHING By David Wei

While you can troll for fish using hardware

like a gang troll and worm, or spincast with

bait, spinners or small spoons, early spring

is one of the best times to fly-fish in this

region. Despite hatches of mature insects

boiling off the surfaces of lakes, most of

your success will come from using wet

patterns that imitate larval forms rising

through the water from bottom.

44 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018

often include fishing as a major part of

the fun. On the north end of the lake, the

Kingfisher Community (just east of Enderby)

includes an excellent golf course and a landing

strip for small planes, along with a large, fullservice

marina where visiting anglers with

larger boats can moor them safely between

their fishing forays.

Northwest of Vernon, in the foothills

surrounding Falkland, anglers can find

excellent facilities at Bolean, Pillar, and

Pinaus lakes, all of which offer safe wilderness

resorts. Most high-altitude lake resorts offer

camping, cabins, and boat rentals, and are

thus fun places to introduce your family

members to the great lifetime sport of fishing.

Boundary/Similkameen

The beautiful Similkameen River has its

headwaters in Princeton, and passes through

Keremeos before dropping south to cross the

Canada/U.S.A. border just west of Osoyoos

Lake. There is excellent trout fishing in the

Similkameen River, as well as in the nearby

Ashnola River. Dry-fly casters can wade

both rivers, casting very small floating fly

imitations upriver trying to get that perfect

natural-looking drift, while other anglers drift

down sections of the rivers in float tubes or

inflatable rafts.

This area is also excellent for those

anglers who enjoy exploring the fishing on the

high-mountain lakes by horseback. Hearty


anglers can tackle the hiking trails, some of

which reach astounding elevations over 2,153

metres (7,000 feet), as well as special ATV

trails found in both Manning and Cathedral

provincial parks. Cathedral has a group of four

small hike-in lakes (Quiniscoe, Lake of the

Woods, Pyramid, and Ladyslipper) that boast

excellent fishing for aggressive cutthroat and

rainbow trout amid splendid mountain vistas.

With many points of access, anglers can

wet a line in the Kettle and West Kettle rivers

– as well as in picturesque creeks like Boundary

and McRae – for rainbow trout, eastern brook

char, and whitefish. The Kettle is popular for

canoeing as well as floating on inner tubes

and air-mattresses, although runs should be

scouted in advance, as there are some hazards

depending on the water levels at the time. With

many spectacular viewpoints along the Kettle

Valley Railway trail, the reasonably gentle

inclines and descents of this de-activated rail

bed route are not too arduous for fit hikers and

mountain-bikers.

The region’s high-altitude lakes offer fine

fishing all summer. Near Westbridge, Conkle

Lake – surrounded by extensive grasslands

and fragrant pine forests – is a popular hiking

and camping spot during the summer, with

excellent angling for stocked rainbow trout.

East of Greenwood, Jewel Lake Provincial

Park is situated in beautiful wilderness with

excellent fishing, swimming, boating, and

family-oriented camping. Years ago, Jewel Lake

was rumoured to have given up a humungous

rainbow trout weighing over 25 kilograms

(55 pounds) … but, more realistically, anglers

will find good fishing for stocked rainbow

and eastern brook char, with the odd threekilogram

(six- to seven-pound) trophy. During

the winter, both Jewel and Conkle lakes are

popular for ice fishing.

Anglers can also find abundant pan-sized

rainbows, eastern brook char, and whitefish

that are suckers for flies, bait, small spinners,

or spoons in the Granby River and its tributary

creeks, the Almond, Lynch, Burrell, and Miller

creeks near Grand Forks.

Bass fishing for either largemouth or

smallmouth bass is popular with anglers in the

area between Osoyoos Lake – which actually

straddles the Canada/U.S.A. border along

Highway 97 – and Christina Lake, just east

of Grand Forks, and north to Penticton. The

province’s largest largemouth bass, weighing

just over five kilograms (11 pounds), was

caught in Osoyoos Lake back in the late 1960s.

The north end of Osoyoos is still a popular

and productive bass fishing area. Osoyoos

and Christina lakes are about the only lakes

in the area where American-style bass boats

are regularly seen fishing along the weed beds.

Vaseux Lake, just south of Okanagan Falls, is

by far the most popular bass fishing lake in

Boundary country. The lake has large numbers

of both largemouth and smallmouth bass that

can easily be caught from shore, or from boats

without gasoline engines. Skaha Lake, south

of Penticton, has become a great smallmouth

bass destination in the last decade. Smallmouth

bass over two kilograms (4.5 pounds) are quite

common, and are found schooling near deep

rock piles. Casting jigs with soft plastic worms

or crayfish usually entice strikes; however,

crankbaits and spinners can also work wonders.

The Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre near

Osoyoos attracts visitors interested in the

history of the Osoyoos Indian band, and in

learning about life in the semi-arid shrubsteppe

environment known as Canada’s

“Pocket Desert.” Be sure to enjoy some samples

in the world-renowned Nk’Mip Cellars Winery

while you’re there.

The Thompson, Okanagan and Boundary/

Similkameen area offers visitors literally

everything they might possibly wish for, along

with outstanding fishing. Many anglers come

just for the fishing; however, many also come

to combine skiing, golf, wine-tasting, or the

many other outdoor activities for which these

sunny areas are so perfectly suited. Many of

these vacationers will include family fishing

as an essential part of their fun. The great

memories from a sensational fishing trip to

this beautiful region will last a lifetime.

Fishing Techniques for

BC’s Interior Lakes

Whether fishing the glorious ranchland of

the Chilcotin or the rolling timber area of the

Cariboo, the Thompson or the Okanagan,

the fishing techniques will be very similar.

There are over one thousand small lakes in

which anglers fishing from the shoreline, from

bellyboats, and from car-toppers can catch

feisty rainbow trout, eastern brook trout, and

delicious kokanee. Anglers often cast small,

weighted spinners or spoons from shore, or

even simpler but effective bobber-and-worm

combinations. Bellyboaters usually troll large

wet flies such as Doc Spratleys, Carey Specials,

or Muddler Minnows. Patient fly-anglers

will rig chironomid larva or bloodworm fly

patterns on long leaders under strike indicators

to slowly inch up and down very close to the

bottom of the lake…with exceptional success.

Anglers with smaller craft can often

successfully catch trout by trolling a small gang

troll, such as a Willow Leaf or a Ford Fender,

followed by a short leader to a hook baited

with a bit of worm or a couple of maggots.

Also effective is trolling with small spoons

like the Mepps Syclops, Little Wolf, Dick Nite,

Gibbs-Delta Gypsy, or Luhr-Jenson Kokanee

King. Other trolling favourites include small

Spin-n-Glows, and Apex Trout or Kokanee

Killers – especially in various shades of pink,

red, orange, or chartreuse. Tip any of these

lures with worms or maggots, and kokanee or

medium-sized rainbow trout will seem to flock

to them.

Fly-fishing purists cast nothing but dry

fly patterns, including common flies like Tom

Thumbs, Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Adams

and, in rivers, large foam-bodied Stimulators.

For the rest of us average fly-casters, nearly

every lake in the Interior has one- to fourkilogram

(two- to eight-pound) rainbows that

will readily devour wet flies 90 percent of the

time. Fly boxes should include a variety of

wet fly patterns, including chironomids and

bloodworms, as well as leeches, damselflies,

and dragonfly nymphs. A red- or black-bodied

Doc Spratly fly does not imitate any real food

source for trout; however, whether cast or

trolled, these popular flies always put fish in

the boat.

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www.suncruisermedia.com 45


Cariboo

Chilcotin Coast

Story and Photos by David C. Kimble

Within short moments of

wetting your line in the

superb Cariboo Chilcotin

Coast region, you’ll be

pinching yourself to be certain that you

haven’t died and gone to an angler’s Valhalla.

It might be casting dry flies upstream to a

high-jumping rainbow trout, or dropping a

one-kilogram (two-pound) weight and bait

for a massive halibut in the 120-metre (400-

foot) depths off the Central Coast. It might

be fly-casting your own uniquely created fly

to a gargantuan steelhead trout in the famous

Dean River, or waiting – with every muscle

tensed – for a big coho salmon to slam into

your bucktail fly, fast-trolled just six metres

(20 feet) behind your boat in Hakai Passage.

Whatever anglers desire, they’re likely to

find that this stellar region is where all their

angling dreams will come true.

There are numerous fly-in or boat-in

resorts along the spectacular Central Coast,

from the famous Rivers Inlet to well north

of Shearwater and Milbanke Sound. Visiting

anglers, amazed by the abundance of salmon,

halibut, and lingcod that are caught annually,

will think it’s all a marvellous dream. The

incredible fishing is real, though, and coolers

full of tasty fillets to take home will be there

to prove it.

Keep your camera ready. Anglers

are sometimes surprised when an elusive

Kermode bear appears while waiting for their

next salmon bite. They might also get up

close and personal with orcas, grey whales,

humpback whales – or all of the above. The

haunting, almost surreal rainforest between

the central coastline and the towering

peaks of the majestic Coast Mountains is

interlaced with dozens of fertile rivers and

streams that are the spawning destinations

of all five species of Pacific salmon, steelhead

trout, Dolly Varden char, and high-jumping

coastal cutthroat trout. Popular, more

accessible spots on legendary rivers like the

Dean, Atnarko, and Bella Coola may witness

numerous anglers who are hiking, wading and

casting. However, a short helicopter flight up

these prolific rivers offers amazing wilderness

fishing from guided drift boats in hidden

pools where few other anglers have ever cast

their lines.

Climbing up and out of the magnificent

Bella Coola Valley, the Alexander Mackenzie

46 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


Lac des Roches from

Highway 24.

Highway (#20) passes through

Tweedsmuir Park, and proceeds

eastward through the ruggedly

beautiful Chilcotin Country. Before

1953, residents of Bella Coola could only

access their community by boat, and winter

storms often left them stranded for months

without supplies. Local residents – many of

them loggers with some heavy equipment

– decided to build a road up the nearly

impossible 18% grade, gaining 1600 metres

(5000 feet) to connect with Highway 20 at

Anahim Lake, and thus have the ability to

drive inland via Williams Lake to access the

rest of British Columbia. They called their

humble road the “Freedom Highway.” When

B.C. Highways took over the maintenance of

the road, they re-named it after the Scottish

explorer Alexander Mackenzie, who had first

reached the Pacific Ocean using this overland

route some 12 years before the more famous

American explorers, Lewis and Clark.

The region between the Coast Mountains

and the Fraser River is called the Chilcotin

Country. It is known for its wide stretches

of grasslands, range cattle with real working

cowboys, and numerous sawmills utilizing the

wood from the forests that stretch to every

horizon. It is also known for the pristine lakes

and streams loaded with hard-fighting

rainbow trout, along with many resorts

that cater to all anglers’ whims and desires.

The Interior Plateau east of the Fraser

River is called the Cariboo. The odd spelling

is said to be a corruption of the French

word “cariboeuf.” Its rolling hills, carpeted

with fragrant evergreen forests, offer a wide

range of fishing – from peaceful, hidden

pothole lakes (which can be easily fished

from car-toppers, canoes, or float tubes) to

immense, glacier-carved lakes better suited

for deep-trolling from a cruiser outfitted with

downriggers. Anglers who prefer moving

water will find hundreds of creeks and rivers

flowing into the Fraser River basin that offer

exceptional, uncrowded fly-fishing and spincasting,

either from shore or from a drift

www.suncruisermedia.com 47


Cariboo Chilcotin

boat.

People interested in exploring more

of our province might enjoy driving the

Discovery Coast Circle Route, which starts

from the Lower Mainland north to Williams

Lake, then west along the Mackenzie Highway

to Bella Coola. The B.C. Ferries “Discovery

Coast Connector” will take them south

(visiting Bella Bella, Shearwater, Ocean Falls,

and Klemtu along the way) to Port Hardy,

on the northern end of Vancouver Island.

The Inland Island Highway will take them

south to Nanaimo or Victoria, where they

can catch a B.C. Ferry back to where they

started. An equal number of tourists, of

course, will prefer to drive this loop in the

opposite direction. Either way, the words

of Alan Moberg’s famous song “Williams

Lake Stampede” must be correct: “They’ll

come from far and wide, bring all the kids,

watch the cowboys ride, at the Williams Lake

Stampede.” This year, Williams Lake will

celebrate its 92nd annual stampede.

Central Coast

Beautiful British Columbia’s Central Coast

is a region of sublime magnificence. Wildlife

is everywhere you look: orca and humpback

whales, sea lions, and seals might swim

around your boat while you watch the pristine

beaches hoping to spot wolves, Sitka deer,

black bears, grizzlies, or even the rare white

“spirit” (Kermode) bear. The saltwater fishing

is sensational. Between Cape Caution and the

famous Milbanke Sound, there are healthy

stocks of all five species of Pacific salmon.

Marine biologists expect that this is where

the next world-record chinook salmon –

possibly over 45.5 kilograms (100 pounds) –

might well be caught. The area already boasts

of a 37.3-kilogram (83-pound) specimen

caught at the bottom end of Calvert Island,

and biologists have witnessed much larger

chinook salmon in the many spawning rivers

of the Central Coast. Coho salmon are also

known to be among the largest in the world,

and they expect a 13.6-kilogram (30-pound)

coho to be caught here soon. Many visiting

anglers are thrilled when they tie into a

9.1-kilogram (20-pound) coho, and find that

that size is quite common in these waters.

Three major spawning rivers – the

Chuckwalla, Kilbella, and Wannock – feed into

the headwaters of renowned Rivers Inlet, and

all three are known to contain numerous fiveand

six-year-old chinook salmon. The vast

majority of mature chinook salmon spawn at

four years. The older salmon, having one or

two years at sea to put on weight, often weigh

a hefty 27 kilograms (60 pounds) and some

are much larger. To sustain the inlet’s trophy

chinook fishery, and to enhance the wild

stocks, the local Oweekeno First Nation have

allied with the sport fishing resorts to fund

and operate the Wannock River and Shotbolt

Bay salmon hatcheries.

The headwaters usually have a thin layer

of milk-coloured glacial meltwater over the

top of the inlet’s saltwater, and salmon feed

just beneath that layer. Both sides of this

deep fjord – which curves some 50 kilometres

(30 miles) into the mainland – provide

plenty of uncrowded, protected fishing spots,

notably around Draney Narrows, Kilbella

Bay, and Wadham’s Point. Most of the largest

salmon strike a cutplug herring trolled just

behind the boat.

The mouth of Rivers Inlet offers more

consistent angling throughout the season

at a number of popular hot spots: “Wall,”

“Dome,” and “Triangle;” along the craggy,

indented shoreline of Fitz Hugh Sound; or the

channels, islets and main islands of Penrose,

Ripon, and Wallbran (on the northern side

of the inlet.) Healthy runs of all five species

of Pacific salmon often congregate at these

locations before continuing south, or working

their way up the inlet to spawn.

Nature’s Jewel in the Cariboo

www.FishingHighway24.com

North of Rivers Inlet, on the western

shores of Fitz Hugh Sound, Hakai Passage

offers its own brand of fabulous fishing,

especially for early season chinook, and

great-tasting northern coho salmon later in

the season. The tyee-sized chinook salmon

weighing over 13.6 kilograms (30 pounds)

are usually found on the western sections of

this famous passage at hot spots like Odlum

and Barney points, the “Racetrack, the “Gap,”

and Spider Island. As the season moves

on, anglers start concentrating on eastern

sections like Bayley Point and the eastern

shore of Hecate Island, for coho salmon along

with enough chinook salmon to hold anglers’

interests until the very last day of the season.

Just off the western entrance of Hakai

Passage, Queen Charlotte Sound dishes up

myriad great-tasting bottomfish.

The community of Namu is just

northeast of Hakai on the eastern shores of

Fitz Hugh Sound. Namu can also be accessed

with one of the B.C. Ferries. This area boasts

some of the most prolific runs of coho, chum,

and pink salmon on the coast, with good

numbers of chinook salmon passing right

under their docks.

Farther north, Lama Passage separates

Hunter Island from Denny Island, and leads

avid salmon anglers north to the productive

waters out of Shearwater on Denny Island,

and the Heiltsuk First Nation’s community

of Bella Bella on Campbell Island. Both

Denny and Campbell islands have land-based

airfields that service the area’s fishing resorts.

Schools of chinook and tail-walking coho

salmon are waiting for anglers in these waters

all season long, and it remains one of British

Columbia’s most productive areas deep into

the autumn as well. Seaforth Channel leads

anglers west to famous Milbanke Sound,

where numerous record-sized salmon have

been delighting anglers for a century. From

Cape Mark, Cape Swaine, Cheney Point, and

Rage Reefs off Wurtele Island; Idol Point on

Dufferin Island; Purple Bluffs and Cultus

Sound; across the sound to Day Point or

McInnes Island; or to offshore bottom fishing

holes, this area definitely puts smiles on

anglers’ faces, and great memories etched into

their minds.

Princess Royal Island is a relatively short

boat ride north of Milbanke Sound. This is

where anglers are sometimes distracted from

catching salmon by the possibility of getting

a photo of the rare white Kermode bears.

Often, their screaming reels quickly bring

them back to the task at hand.

Back south to Bella Bella or Shearwater,

48 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


take the time to go on a sightseeing tour

of this spectacularly beautiful part of the

province. In Dean Channel, visit the cairn

that marks where First Nations guides led

explorer Alexander Mackenzie to the Pacific

Ocean in 1793, then continue on to Bella

Coola, one of B.C.’s prettiest coastal towns.

Along the way, take a detour up Roscoe Inlet,

and watch for ancient pictographs, painted

in red ochre, that grace towering cliffs lining

this magnificent glacier-gouged fjord. Before

you return, relax with an invigorating dip

in a mineral hot spring amid mist-shrouded

mountains at Eucott Bay. Along the entire

journey, there are seemingly countless bays

and points that teem with schools of salmon.

Throughout the Central Coast area,

the bait of choice is herring, usually cutplugged

and rigged with two single, barbless

hooks. This rig is usually either clipped

to a downrigger cable, or a sliding weight

is rigged about two metres (6.5 feet) in

front of the bait. When a salmon takes the

herring, anglers must notice the subtle

strike, instantly put the motor in neutral,

and feed the salmon a metre or two of line.

Patiently allow the salmon to eat the bait.

Slowly reel in, with the rod low and pointed

at the fish until you feel the salmon, and

only then set the hook. From the moment of

the hookset, the salmon takes charge of the

battle. When professional guides know that

there are plenty of salmon in the area, they

will often switch to artificial baits like Tomic

plugs, flashers with hoochies, or big spoons.

Big salmon often hit these artificial lures so

hard that anglers will have trouble getting

their rods and reels out of the rod-holders.

Some purist anglers prefer to fly-cast to these

formidable sport fish.

Bottomfish but can be caught anywhere

along the Central Coast. While most anglers

enjoy taking home fillets of these delicious

white-fleshed fish along with their salmon,

try to limit your catch of slow-growing and

late-maturing rockfish as well as lingcod,

whose resident populations can be easily

overfished.

Chilcotin Region

The fabulous Chilcotin region, named after

the Tsilhqot’in First Nation, is best known

for its huge herds of free-range cattle

carefully tended by hard-working cowboys.

It also enjoys a world-wide reputation for its

spectacular freshwater fishing. The general

borders are the Coast Mountains on the west;

the Fraser river and Highway 97 on the east;

Highway 20 between Tweedsmuir Park and

Williams Lake on the north; and Highway 12,

from Whistler through Pemberton to where

it joins Highway 97 just above Cache Creek.

Most of the Chilcotin region is defined as

the western Fraser Plateau. It is drained by

the Chilcotin River, which joins the Fraser

River just north of the huge 16,000-squarekilometre

(6,200-square-mile) Gang Ranch.

Many of the world’s greatest angling

aficionados make annual trips to savour this

unique fishery.

Most anglers from the Vancouver area

will drive eastward to Hope and follow the

Fraser River northward on Highway 1 to

Cache Creek, then continue in the direction

on Highway 97 to the Chilcotin. Other

Vancouver anglers, however, take a shortcut

using Highway 12 past Whistler and beyond

Pemberton to access the excellent fishing

in the Bralorne and Gold Bridge area. Gun

Lake is often a destination here because

of the fantastic numbers of medium-sized

rainbows. This would be the southwest corner

of Chilcotin Country. Following Highway 12

east, anglers will join Highway 97, just above

Celebrating Over 33 Seasons in Hakai Pass, BC

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• Round-trip airfare from Vancouver, BC

• Unlimited use of 17-foot Boston Whalers

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• Delicious home cooked meals

• Box lunches, beverages and bait

• A beautiful lounge and sun deck

• Heavy-duty Wetskin raingear and boots

• Complete fish care: filleted, vacuum

sealed, flash frozen and boxed to be

flown back with you

• Rods and reels all in A-1 condition

• Complete boat care: boats are

cleaned and fueled every time you

come in

• Bait and tackle for both salmon and

bottom fishing

Trips Starting As Low As $2,500 Per Person

CALL TOLL FREE 1-888-452-8822

email: doug@joessalmonlodge.com | www.joessalmonlodge.com

www.suncruisermedia.com 49


Cariboo Chilcotin

Cache Creek. Turning north onto Highway 97

takes our anglers to the unofficial southeast

corner of the Chilcotin, at Clinton.

Travelling north from this point,

remember that access roads to the west take

you into Chilcotin Country while the access

roads to the east are accessing the Cariboo.

Big Bar Lake, surrounded by the beautiful

Big Bar Provincial Park, is just northwest of

Clinton. It is a superb family destination, with

easy limits of smaller rainbows and the odd

tackle-buster to hold dad’s attention. Farther

north, Beaverdam Lake on the Meadow Creek

Road has excellent fishing, and a particularly

beautiful campsite. The road continues west

to smaller Little White Lake, which has no

facilities, but offers bellyboaters some terrific

fly-fishing for numerous rainbows up to three

kilograms (6.5 pounds).

Travel north on Highway 97 and turn

west at 83-Mile. A short road takes anglers,

hikers, and canoeists to Eightythree Lake,

where they can access a series of lakes

starting at Bullock and continuing through

the Flat Lake Provincial Park. There are plenty

of one-kilogram (2.2-pound) trout in all

these lakes, with a few real monsters to keep

anglers on their toes.

The Moose Valley Provincial Park is

just west of 100 Mile House, as is Valentine

Lake, well-known as an excellent family lake

where many nice fish are caught all year long.

Slightly south of Valentine, Gustafson Lake

also has a reputation as an excellent trout

lake.

The 108 Mile Ranch borders Highway

97 just north of 100 Mile House. The ranch

offers just about anything a visitor might

desire: horseback and ATV rides, golf, crosscountry

skiing, and every kind of water sport

one can imagine, including excellent trout

fishing. This all-together package makes it one

of the truly great family fishing destinations

in the province. Just north of the ranch is Lac

La Hache, a deep lake with numerous resorts

and campsites. This highly productive lake is

19 kilometres (12 miles) long, and offers up

huge numbers of one-kilogram (2.2-pound)

rainbows, prolific kokanee, and lake char that

often weigh in over 12 kilograms (26 pounds).

The lake freezes over most winters, making

it a wonderful winter destination for those

wishing to combine snowmobiling or crosscountry

skiing with some superb ice fishing.

The northern border of this prolific Chilcotin

fishing region is the very rugged wilderness

on either side of Highway 20, which heads

west out of Williams Lake on its journey to

the snow-capped mountains of Tweedsmuir

Park. Williams Lake, for which the town

is named, lies right next to Highway 97

for about ten kilometres (six miles). With

plenty of motels and campsites, it is a great

destination for families who enjoy fishing for

its copious numbers of small to medium-sized

rainbow trout. Of course, the world-famous

Williams Lake Stampede – a huge rodeo with

plenty of skills and spills to entertain even

the most civilized city-slickers – is one of the

region’s biggest draws.

West of Williams Lake, access to the deep

interior of the Chilcotin is through the many

forest service roads (FSRs) that lead north

or south from Highway 20. The FSR at Riske

Creek leads anglers south past many small but

bountiful lakes, ending up at the huge Gang

Ranch, which has many well-stocked private

trout lakes available for guests. The FSR

continues and emerges in Lillooet.

The next jumping-off point from

Highway 20 is at Hanceville. Shortly after

crossing the Chilcotin River, the FSR splits

into two branches. The left branch of the road

takes anglers south to Fletcher Lake, which

Lac des Roches from

Highway 24.

50 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


is reputed to have rainbow trout over three

kilograms (6.6 pounds). There is a campsite,

and some rental cabins on the lake. The FSR

then joins the Big Creek Road, which leads to

Mons Lake or to Willen Lake, a prolific flyfishing

destination. The right branch is called

the Willen Creek Road, and quickly joins

the Taseko Lake Main. This road will take

anglers southward for about an hour before

reaching the Davidson Bridge recreation site.

From here, the road splits once again, with

the left-hand route taking anglers into Fish

Lake or to a small lake called the Onion, both

lakes having profuse numbers of enthusiastic

rainbows to two kilograms (4.4 pounds).

This branch ends up at Taseko Lake, which

has a resort offering fishing, hunting, and

horseback trips. Taseko Lake is difficult to

fish because it is filled with milky glacialrunoff

water. Casting large spoons into the

clear creek outlets, however, can produce

some very large bull trout. The right-hand

(westward) branch from Davidson Bridge

leads anglers past Konni Lake, and ends up at

the famous Chilko Lake in Tsylos Provincial

Park.

It’s important to remember that

highways 97 and 20 are paved, but all the

access roads that lead off these highways are

good gravel roads. In the summer, that means

dust. If you are driving into a particular lake,

and see a loaded logging truck coming toward

you, pull over and stop until the dust has

cleared. These trucks often travel in pairs and,

using their radios, will tell each other exactly

where you are. Thus, you’ll be safe as long as

you wait for the dust to clear.

Before arriving at Tweedsmuir Park,

Highway 20 will take anglers west to Nimpo

and Anahim lakes. Visiting anglers often take

commercial flights into the airfield at Anahim

Lake, and are bused to Nimpo Lake where

floatplanes fly them to destinations like the

upper Dean River, the Redfern River Lodge

or the Moosehead Lodge, or the many hidden

lakes and rivers within Tweedsmuir Park

itself. Don’t forget, however, to drop your line

into Nimpo Lake, with its healthy population

of eager rainbows up to three kilograms (6.6

pounds).

Cariboo Region

The Cariboo is a trout angler’s nirvana, with

far more great fishing lakes than any writer

could possibly mention. It’s an area of rolling

hills and tall timber and lies east of the Fraser

River, with slightly higher elevation than the

Chilcotin country to the west, and extends

eastward to the border of the Thompson/

Okanagan. We’ll begin our investigation

of this sublime fishery at 70 Mile House,

where we’ll head east from Highway 97 onto

the Green Lake Road. Just before arriving

at Green Lake, the North Bonaparte Lake

Road takes anglers eastward past Tin Cup,

Crater, and Pressy lakes. They feature superb

year ’round trout action, with many locals

snowmobiling to reach them for winter ice

fishing after deep snow closes the road. The

excellent gravel road continues east, where

anglers can turn right onto the Eagan Lake

Road to access either Eagan or Sharp lakes

on their way to the western end of famous

Bonaparte Lake. Lying at an elevation of

1,170 metres (3,800 feet) above sea level,

Bonaparte stays cool, with big, up to sixkilogram

(13-pound) rainbows that will strike

and fight all summer long. If anglers don’t

turn onto Eagan Lake Road, the Bonaparte

Lake Road continues north, passing Crystal

and Rutherford lakes before it connects with

Highway 24 near Lone Butte.

Highway 24 is referred to as the very

backbone of the Cariboo, but thousands of

Trophy Salmon Fishing

Hakai Pass, British Columbia, Canada

Hakai Lodge is a rustic hideaway floating in the heart of the Hakai

Luxvbalis Conservancy Area (British Columbia’s largest marine park)

world-famous for its unsurpassed salmon fishing. For thousands of years,

huge runs of Chinook (King) Salmon, Coho (Silver) Salmon as well as

Sockeye, Chum and Pink Salmon crowded through Hakai Pass from the

open Pacific Ocean headed for the rivers and streams where their life

began. Besides salmon, there’s good Halibut, Lingcod, Red snapper and

Rockfish fishing. There is no commercial fishing in area which offers a true

wilderness experience amid spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife.

With a friendly staff, world-class fishing, and comfortable

accommodations, Hakai Lodge assures you of the very best fishing and

that you will be hosted by friendly and professional owners who own and

operate the resort hands-on for over 45 years. Space is Limited. Plan

ahead and Save! Don’t forget to sign up for a free fishing trip

For fishing dates and prices visit:

www.suncruisermedia.com 51


Cariboo Chilcotin

anglers over many decades have nicknamed

it, “The Fishing Highway.” This famous

97-kilometre (60-mile) route starts just south

of 100 Mile House at Highway 97, and draws

adventuresome anglers eastward through

the trout-rich region to Little Fort, on the

Yellowhead Highway (#16). Many articles

have been written about this most important

access road for fishing in the prolific Cariboo.

Just past Lone Butte, Horse Lake Road

leads anglers north to marvellous Horse Lake

with its fantastic trout fishing, along with

consistent production of tackle-busting

lake char that can top the scales at

over ten kilograms (22 pounds). This

road can also take intrepid anglers

eastward to the Mahood Lake Road,

which in turn leads back northward

to such famous trout waters as

Deka, Sulphurous, and Hathaway

lakes on its way to Canim Lake.

Back again on the Fishing

Highway, the road into Fawn Lake is

a left-hand (north) turn, just west of

Sheridan Lake. Fawn Lake has a lovely

resort with camping and cabins, and is

a destination lake for many fly anglers. Its

protected waters are perfect for bellyboating

and fly-casting for abundant medium to large

rainbow trout.

Sheridan Lake has five resorts that are

an indication of the lake’s excellent fishing.

A four-kilogram (nine-pound) rainbow from

Sheridan doesn’t even garner bragging

rights, where every year it seems that at least

one rainbow trout over eight kilograms (18

pounds) gets weighed in.

At the eastern end of Sheridan Lake, a

road to the north takes anglers past Roe Lake

and ends up on the north end of Bridge Lake.

Whether fishing on the north, south, east or

west of large Bridge Lake, anglers will find

excellent fishing for rainbow trout, lake char,

and some really great-tasting kokanee. Once

again, from the Fishing Highway, the rough

gravel Machete Lake Road bears southward,

just east of Bridge Lake, past pretty Montana

Lake and a trail into Tobe Lake, on its way to

Machete. Machete holds some surprisingly

large rainbows for anglers willing to work to

get their boats into it.

Lac des Roches, east of Bridge Lake, has

two excellent resorts offering cabins and RV

camping for those who do not wish to drive

their fishing rigs on gravel roads. Access is

easy, and the rainbow fishing is fantastic.

Highway 24 continues east, down a long hill

to Little Fort in the North Thompson country.

The Canim-Hendrix Lake Road leaves

Highway 97 just north of 100 Mile House.

This road leads anglers into the western and

eastern shores of Canim Lake, which offers

all kinds of water sports as well as excellent

spring and fall fishing for big rainbows and

lake char, and healthy numbers of kokanee

throughout the summer.

Another good access road turns east

Liquid Lace Sockeye Fry Fly

out of Lac La Hache, following signs to the

Timothy Lake Ski Hill. This road passes

Greeny and Timothy lakes, both offering

good camping and fishing. Sprout Lake Road

branches northward just before Greeny Lake

and takes anglers past Rail and Sprout lakes,

which have excellent fishing for rainbows.

Departing Highway 97 north and east

of 150 Mile House, Horsefly Road is the last

and most northerly road worth mentioning

to access the northern Cariboo. The road

is paved all the way to Horsefly, where it

changes into a wide, well-maintained gravel

road. There’s a large campground and a good

boat launch on Horsefly Lake for both tenters

and RVers. The lake offers great trolling

for rainbow trout often weighing over 4.5

kilograms (10 pounds). The good gravel road

continues to the south junction of huge

Quesnel Lake (deepest fjord lake in Canada),

with its excellent populations of rainbow

trout, bull trout, lake char, and kokanee. Troll

for these trophy fish with big spoons, plugs,

and crank baits. When sockeye salmon are

spawning in the feeder creeks, Dolly Varden

and rainbows will readily hit lures that

resemble salmon roe. Just before arriving at

this junction, there is a cluster of incredible

fly-fishing lakes – including Jacques, Hen

Ingram, and Keno Lakes – which anglers

often discover when wind keeps them from

fishing on Quesnel Lake; none are ever

disappointed.

Other great Cariboo trout lakes include

Tyee, Crooked, Big, Morehead, McLeese,

Klinne, Jackson, Dragon, and Doreen. Forest

Lake, north of Williams Lake but south of

Tyee Lake, has a distinguished reputation

for some of the largest rainbow trout

in the Cariboo, with prize fish to four

kilograms (nine pounds) and the

occasional brute that can top nine

kilograms (20 pounds). For some

incredible sightseeing and fabulous

fishing in virtually untouched

waters, arrange to fly into Ghost

or Mitchell lakes, high in the

Cariboo Mountains, or take a jetboat

to Ghost, Mitchell, Roaring, or

Quesnel Rivers. Observe a colourful

autumn spectacle as thousands of

crimson sockeye return to spawn in the

Horsefly River.

Three massive provincial parks define the

far northeast sector of the Cariboo. Wells Gray

Provincial Park covers 5,250 square kilometres

(2,027 square miles). It is joined at its northern

border with the Cariboo Mountains Provincial

Park with 7,600 square kilometres (nearly

3,000 square miles). Joining its northern

border is the Bowron Lake Provincial Park at

1,492 square kilometres (576 square miles).

In this park, the rugged angler will discover a

special fishing adventure in a chain of 10 lakes

and short portages that form a 116-kilometre

(72-mile), rectangular canoeing circuit that

you can access with a special permit. The lakes

contain rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, lake char,

kokanee, and whitefish in an unforgettable

wilderness setting. Together, that’s 14,342

square kilometres (over 5,600 square miles) of

prime wildlife habitat. Thank you to the past

governments of British Columbia.

When you catch a real trophy-sized

salmon, trout or steelhead trout, please enjoy

the battle, and carefully handle your prize

while someone else takes photos. But keep

only smaller fish for your dinner table, and

respectfully release bigger fish back into the

depths to reproduce more of their kind for

our future anglers. The Cariboo, Chilcotin

and Central Coast are very special angling

destinations; they will only stay that way

if we all strive to maintain the high-quality

fishery.

52 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


Lodge Profile

Hakai Lodge

is located at

Hakai Pass,

approximately 496

kilometres (308

miles) north from

Vancouver.

By Steve Fennell, Photos Courtesy of Hakai Lodge

HAKAI LODGE

Hakai Lodge has been in operation

since the early 1970s, and has greatly

expanded over the years to become

one of the longest standing go-to fishing

lodges on the BC coast. One thing that hasn’t

changed, however, is the action-packed fishing

grounds that keep anglers coming back for

more every season.

Located at Hakai Pass, approximately

496 kilometres (308 miles) north from

Vancouver, B.C. and 160 kilometres (100

miles) northwest of Port Hardy on Vancouver

Island, the lodge is accessible only by plane

from three convenient locations: Vancouver,

Seattle, or Port Hardy.

“One of the biggest draws for guests is our

father-and-son (or -daughter) packages. We are

also popular for family group trips,” said Clyde

Carlson, owner of Hakai Lodge. “It’s great to

see how much they enjoy themselves, and

the kids now return with their children and

families. It’s a tremendous experience.”

During your journey here, you’ll fly over

lush forests, uninhabited islands, white sand

beaches, and sparkling water where trophy

chinook and coho salmon – as well as halibut,

lingcod, and Pacific yelloweye rockfish – lurk

below the surface. The B.C. coast offers some

of the best fishing on the planet, and the

lodge’s fishing season from July to September

is a true testament to this.

“The average weight of chinook salmon

caught here is about 13.6 kilograms (30

pounds), and the average weight for coho

is 7.3 kilograms (16 pounds),” said Carlson.

“One of the great things we teach our guests

is about the area, its history and most of all,

we teach them all about its salmon fishing

with our expert team. Once they have the skill

down, they go out on their own and create

their own experiences.”

Each of the lodge’s fleet of Boston

Whaler Montauks – powered by 30- or 40-

hp Yamaha four-strokes – comes with rod

holders, 2.4- to 3.4-metre (eight- to 11-foot)

mooching rods, levelwind or single-action

saltwater reels, insulated bait boxes, and

tackle. Orientations are also provided, and

guides are available.

When it comes to dining, you won’t be let

down. A professional chef and baker prepare

all the menu items for lunch and breakfast,

while dinner features hearty, made-to order,

full-course meals.

There’s no doubt you’ll also appreciate

the series of accommodations, which consist

of upgraded guest cabins with a rustic appeal,

just steps from the water’s edge. Spacious

and comfortable, the fully-furnished cabins

accommodate groups from two to 12, making

them ideal for entertaining or relaxing with

friends or family after a day on the water.

Father-son (and -daughter) packages

are popular at the lodge.

“Over the last seven years, we

have invested more than $1,000,000 of

improvements into the lodge,” said Carlson.

“We refurbish all of the existing boats

and motors, and upgrade our professional

fishing gear every year. We also did major

improvements to the commercial kitchen, as

well as to the guest cabins. Guests here can

pretty much enjoy the best of what we offer.”

For all the details, call Hakai Lodge at

1-(800) 538-3551, or visit them at

www.hakai-lodge.com.

www.suncruisermedia.com 53


Lodge Profile

By Steve Fennell

Catch the

Action

BC’s Rivers Inlet

Sportsman’s Club

The Rivers Inlet Sportsman’s Club

has been owned and operated by

the Kelly family since 1984. It

enters its 35 th season of leading

die-hard anglers to their fishing fights of a

lifetime. Although the Kellys can’t guarantee

breaking the club’s record of landing a

monster 32.9-kilogram (72.5-pound)

chinook salmon, they do their best to

instruct guests on how to catch big fish, and

provide experiences that will last a lifetime.

Located on BC’s central coast

approximately 483 kilometres (300 miles)

north of Vancouver, or approximately 148

kilometres (92 miles) north of Port Hardy,

the Rivers Inlet Sportsman’s Club is a strictly

fly-in fishing lodge – which means there are

no roads, and crowds are practically nonexistent.

Taking the 90-minute flight (via a

Cessna Caravan) from the South Terminal

of Vancouver International Airport is just

the beginning of the journey north. Arriving

at The Rivers Inlet Sportsman’s Club means

stowing your personal smart phone, and

enjoying everything the region has to offer.

There is, however, WiFi available for those

very important calls that need to be made.

“The reason we are located on Rivers

Inlet is the fact that very large salmon can

be caught here, and productive salmonbearing

rivers like the Kilbella, Chuckwalla,

and Wannock feed into our system,” said

owner Barbara Kelly. “According to the

fishing reports that we receive from Fisheries

and Oceans Canada (DFO) throughout the

season, more salmon congregate in this

area during the peak fishing season than

anywhere else on the BC coast.”

With an expert staff – which includes

Kelly’s son Simon, his wife Stephanie

d’Artois (who share the operation manager’s

role), Cathy Drew, the office and accounts

manager, and a team of up to 20 to include

seasoned fishing guides and on-site staff –

guests’ questions are always answered, and

their needs are always addressed.

Fishing trophy-calibre waters for

salmon during the peak run from June to

September is about as exciting as fishing can

get. To properly educate guests (and to make

the most of their time), the guides regularly

54 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


LEFT: Fishing trophy-calibre

waters for salmon is about

as exciting as fishing can

get. RIGHT: A first-hand

45-pounder that was caught

near the lodge.

Eric Berger Photography.

Rivers Inlet Guest

present seminars on “everything they need

to know about the area and salmon fishing.”

Topics range from water safety and handling

heavy tackle to landing any one of coastal

species that include chinook, coho, lingcod,

and halibut. Most importantly, successful

fishing is mixed with comfort. The lodge has

a fleet of fully loaded, custom-built boats

designed for coastal fishing; professional

fishing gear; full accommodations; scheduled

full-course meals; and more.

“Although some of the best fishing

on the coast is only 10 minutes around

the corner, we strongly suggest going out

with a guide who is fully acquainted with

the region,” says Kelly. “What’s appealing

to a lot of people is they can go out in the

morning, come back for lunch, then go back

out in the afternoon. They can have dinner

and go out again. We generally have calm

seas – guests don’t have to travel an hour on

rough seas, or stay out all day. Guests get in

a lot of fishing time.”

Exploring this area has its merits

as well. Without the masses, visitors can

experience nature at its purest. Accessible

by boat from the lodge, nearby trails lead

through temperate rainforests, and there

are beautiful beaches to enjoy an afternoon

on the shoreline. Double ocean kayaks are

available to explore the series of coves and

bays, or admire the vast range of marine

wildlife (from whales to bald eagles) up close

and personal.

Nevertheless, salmon fishing is the name of

the game here. As it may be common to see

repeat guests during a visit, it’s definitely for

a reason. As Kelly explains, “It’s all about the

experiences.”

“You have to do a good job for your

guests so they want to come back,” says

Kelly. “We have been doing this for 35 years

now, and we learn from our experiences

what our guests want. This is what makes us

competitive, and it’s the reason why we’ve

been around for three-plus decades.”

To learn about all the details of The

Rivers Inlet Sportsman’s Club, its

accommodations, and several services,

visit www.riversinlet.com

www.suncruisermedia.com 55


56 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


BY David Y. Wei and Suzanne L. Clouthier,

Photos Courtesy of Kingfish Westcoast Adventures

NORTHERN

BRITISH

COLUMBIA

British Columbia’s expansive

northern region includes more than

half of the province’s total area –

approximately half a million square

kilometres. How large is that? It’s nearly the

size of France, and more than the entire state

of California.

This vast landscape is characterized

for the most part by unspoiled, imposing

wilderness. A collection of over 60 parks

and protected areas, with two UNESCO

World Heritage Sites, preserve a formidable

portion of the area from urban and industrial

development. The incredibly rich natural

diversity – geologic features from towering

cordillera to ancient lava beds; animals

from chubby marmots to ferocious grizzly

bears; and forests as far as the eye can see

– are protected for posterity by proactive

government programs.

Northern B.C. also abounds in history.

The legacy of First Nation societies weaves

a unique cultural fabric that reaches back

well over ten thousand years. Some of their

ancient ancestors arrived by boat from Asia,

fishing the riches of the Pacific Rim, while

others pursued big game across Beringia. Their

extraordinary history, art, and contemporary

cultures are on display at galleries, heritage

sites, and museums across the region.

There are just three major highways (#16,

#37, and #97) that link the cities and towns

of northern B.C. and wend their way – along

with B.C. Ferries’ car- and passenger-service

to the Haida Gwaii archipelago – through

the northland. There are countless places to

discover by boat, hiking, horseback, or air …

with plenty of naïve fish to fool.

Haida Gwaii

From its remote perch on the western edge

of the continental shelf, the Haida Gwaii

archipelago — some 50 to 130 kilometres

from the B.C. mainland — is a consistent

producer of saltwater sport fish, both in

numbers and in trophy sizes. The cold,

nutrient-rich water of the North Pacific

fosters bountiful schools of baitfish: herring,

needlefish, krill, and squid. This abundant

feed (which concentrates salmon and

bottomfish within some of the very first

angler-accessible shallows they encounter in

the open Pacific), combined with the splendid

isolation of Haida Gwaii, are two of the

factors that make this fishing destination so

special.

Brawny chinook averaging 10 kilograms

are the rule here, not the exception. When

done right, fishermen have an excellent

chance of hooking into a tyee-grade chinook

weighing more than 13.6 kilograms.

Trophy northern coho are notorious for

peeling the line from the reel, and for

almost instantaneous reversals of direction

punctuated with impressive displays of

airborne leaping agility that will leave you

breathless. Opportunistic pink or chum

salmon will attack any dangling bait, even

right beside your boat.

Downrigger-equipped boats can troll for

salmon using baits and lures at depths down

to 50 metres. Try:

• cutplug or whole herring

• anchovy (real, or Gibbs-Delta Big Bite

imitation) in Rhys Davis Anchovy Special

or Bullet Roll teaser heads; O’Ki JDF

teaser heads; or small Jughead Shaker bait

holders, astern flashers

• herring strip in Rhys Davis teaser heads, on

their own or astern flashers

• five- to seven-inch Tomic plugs (#493,

#500, #530UV, #602, #639, #639bd; #700,

or #803); True Roll Lure; or Lyman wooden

plugs

• big spoons (Gibbs-Delta Irish Cream,

No Bananas or Trailhead G Force, 50/50

Wonder, Clendon Stewart, and Gator; O’Ki

Titan Real Live Anchovy Image or Kinetic;

Luhr Jensen chrome Superior, Coyote, and

Diamond King; Williams “Nu-Wrinkle”

Whitefish; Tomic “Honeycomb” #500,

#512g, #545, #546, #574, #576g, #600,

#602, or #639bd; or five-inch Pesca RSG

Clupea or Gut Bomb)

• small three- to four-inch high-action

spoons (Gibbs-Delta Razorback, Skinny G,

Coho Killer, or Gypsy; Luhr Jensen Coyote;

AP Tackleworks Herring, Sandlance or

Anchovy; Williams Savant Crusher; or Pesca

Gut Bomb) behind flashers

• wobbling lures (Gibbs-Delta Hockey Sticks,

or Apex Hot Spots)

• hoochies (Army Truck, glow-green

splatterback, Pistachio, Irish Cream, Tiger

Prawn, Yozuri six-inch squid, or North

Pacific J200) astern full-sized flashers

• flashers (Gibbs-Delta Highliner Guide

Series Moon Jelly UV glow or Kitetail

Chartreuse Glow; O’Ki Big Shoter Fire

n’ Ice, Footloose, Betsy, Jelly Fish, or

Frenchie; or Hot Spot UV Purple glow).

If you still want attraction, but don’t want to

dampen a salmon’s fight using a flasher, try

using a big, hookless spoon (like a Williams

Whitefish) two metres in front of small

www.suncruisermedia.com 57


Northern BC

spoons, or an anchovy in a teaser head; or

use a dummy flasher off the downrigger

cannonball, and attach your favourite spoon

or plug about 1.5 metres above it.

Haida Gwaii’s deep offshore banks

and numerous rocky shoals are a bottomfisher’s

dream. Every season, these areas

produce monster “barn-door” halibut to more

than 50 kilograms, in addition to “chicken

halibut” (five- to 20-kilograms) that are more

manageable in the kitchen.

Don’t underestimate the stalwart lingcod

(a member of the greenling family). This fish

is rapacious and known to pugnaciously attack

almost any bait or lure, and even another

hooked fish if it feels it can swallow it. Pacific

yelloweye rockfish are also aggressive feeders,

and will strike almost any lure or bait drifting

within five metres of bottom. Anglers are

encouraged to release really big lings and

halibut, as these are usually female. Quickly

vacate any rockfish haunts as well, since these

fish are very susceptible to mortality after

being caught, even when carefully returned to

the water.

The most convenient and safe way to

fish Haida Gwaii’s fabled waters is to hire

an experienced charter boat operator out of

Sandspit or Masset, or to book space in one of

the land-based or floating resorts located near

the most popular fishing spots.

The kelp beds at the northern end of

Graham Island – in shallow bays and deep

rock crevices – provide game fishes’ perfect

cover for shelter and ambush. Popular hot

spots in this area include Cape Edenshaw at

the entrance to Naden Harbour, in Virago

Sound, and further west to the Bird Rocks.

When weather and sea conditions

permit, anglers can often experience fabulous

salmon and bottomfish action along the

untamed western flanks of Graham and

Moresby islands. From Sandspit, day charters

can fish Marble Island in Cartwright Sound,

and other destinations close to the western

end of Skidegate Channel. Book a multipleday

stay at a floating or land-based fishing

resort to access exceptional sport fishing

around Kano Inlet, Port Louis, Hippa Island,

and Englefield Bay.

At Langara Island, just off the

northwestern tip of Graham Island, there are

a number of floating and land-based resorts

that offer either unguided, partially, or fully

guided fishing. Find excellent salmon and

bottom-fishing just off the kelp beds that

line the protected waters along the eastern

side of Langara Island. Cohoe, Andrews, and

McPherson points are always top producers.

Drift-fish narrow Parry Passage, located

between Langara and Graham islands, for big

halibut. Troll or motor-mooch for salmon at

nearby Guinia Point or at Bruin Bay, which

also offers some protection if southeast winds

pick up.

The western and northern sides of

Langara are more exposed to the open ocean,

but offer excellent fishing when seas are calm.

Hang just offshore at Lacy Island, the Langara

Lighthouse, or the area around Langara Rocks.

Dead-drifting a whole herring well offshore in

the “O-zone,” while following the 100-metre

bottom contour, can produce explosive salmon

and bottom-fishing action.

Some of the finest stream-fishing for

trophy steelhead in British Columbia can

be found in the rivers of Haida Gwaii. This

fishery starts in the autumn, and continues

throughout the winter well into the following

spring. You’ll also find phenomenal coho

fishing in the fall, and searun Dolly Varden

and cutthroat trout fishing throughout the

year. On Graham Island, drive to rivers such as

the Yakoun, Tlell, or Kumdis, or to the Copper

River on Moresby Island. Keep in mind that

there are also remote island lakes and creeks

accessible only by boat or helicopter, where

you’ll find yourself standing knee-deep in

virtually pristine fishing territory.

Make arrangements to see the remaining

memorial poles at the ancient Haida village

of Ninstints (or SGang Gwaay llnagaay, which

means “Red Cod Island”) – now a UNESCO

World Heritage Site. Just east of Langara

Island, on the northern end of Graham

Island, you’ll find a weathered 30-metre-high

sandstone spire called Pillar Rock. Along

the shores, you stand a good chance to find

colourful wave-polished agates and, if you are

really fortunate, Japanese glass fishing-net

floats that have washed in from the other side

of the Pacific. These sandy beaches run the

shoreline for almost 100 kilometres, and fall

under the jurisdiction of Naikoon Provincial

Park. An extensive display of the indigenous

Haida First Nation’s traditions, art, and

culture is housed at the Haida Gwaii Museum

and Haida Heritage Centre at Kaay Llnagaay

in Skidegate.

Prince Rupert and the

Northern Coast

Every winter, hurricane-force southeast gales

bring in epic storms that hammer the north

coast. This unpredictable weather tends

to keep serious sport fishing to the more

pleasant spring and summer months. Fishing

resorts usually begin saltwater operations

toward mid-May, and wrap up by mid-

September; however, a few stay open from

November until April to offer river-fishing for

steelhead, salmon, cutthroat trout, and Dolly

Varden.

From Prince Rupert, you have access to

several major salmon runs entering the Nass,

Kitimat, and Skeena rivers. At the mouth of

the Skeena, halibut, lingcod, and rockfish

congregate just offshore to feed on schools

of baitfish. A big charter fleet operating out

of Prince Rupert’s small-boat harbour offers

excellent single- and multiple-day fishing

expeditions. There are also several remote,

full-service resorts that provide world-class

fully guided or self-guided fishing.

Moving north from Prince Rupert, you’ll

58 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


encounter Nass and Skeena River tyee – with

the added bonus of trophy coho – at Dundas

and Zayas islands. On the northern side of

Zayas Island, immense kelp forests are the

perfect cover for salmon to ambush hordes

of needlefish that often hover just below

the surface, and allow for remarkable ocean

fly-fishing. Close to the mouth of the Nass,

salmon and bottomfish abound in Work

Channel and Portland Canal. To the west,

Chatham Sound and surrounding islands

of the Tree Knob Group have consistently

produced good salmon and bottom-fishing

action. South of Prince Rupert, Goble Point is

a good place to motor-mooch or troll for coho,

chum, and tyee-sized chinook – especially

when big tidal flows form a powerful back

eddy that concentrates both salmon and their

prey in the slick current.

Kitimat and the Douglas Channel

Kitimat boasts both fresh and salt water

fishing. The Kitimat River has plenty of

fish stocks all year round with the Kitimat

River Hatchery enhancing the chum, coho,

chinook, steelhead and cutthroat populations

in the river. There are many ways to fish

the Kitimat River – fish the mouth of the

river in a jet boat, fish the length of the river

in a drift boat, drive to a hot spot on the

riverbank or hike to a secluded spot. Local

guides have evolved several techniques and

lures exclusively manufactured for fishing

the Kitimat River. Conventional tackle, hot

shotting techniques or fly-fishing can be used

for all species in the Kitimat River.

www.suncruisermedia.com 59


Northern BC

The Douglas Channel, one of BC’s longest

inland fjords, provides access to unbelievable

salt water fishing adventures. With the

Kitimat River and many more feeder creeks

and rivers producing migrating salmon along

this 90 km stretch of ocean, the well protected

waters of the Channel offer exceptional

fishing for chinook and coho salmon, as well

as snapper, cod, crab, prawns and some of the

largest halibut found on the BC coast. With

the option of launching your own boat at

the marina or booking one of the many wellequipped

charter companies in Kitimat, your

experience of fishing the Douglas Channel

will be favourably remembered. When the

challenges of catching your trophy fish have you

exhausted, relax in the sulphur free, natural hot

springs of Bishop Bay, Shearwater or Weewanie.

Since mature salmon in this expansive

region are returning to spawn, they are often

found at depths from eight to 20 metres –

well within the reach of power-moochers

using cutplug herring astern 6- to 10-ounce

mooching weights. Downrigger-equipped

boats can troll:

• cutplug herring, or whole herring in Rhys

Davis teaser heads or large Jughead Shakers

bait holders

• real anchovy (or Gibbs-Delta Big Bite artificial

anchovy) in Rhys Davis Anchovy Special or

Bullet Roll teaser heads; O’Ki JDF teaser

heads; or small Jughead Shaker bait holders,

behind full-sized flashers

• flashers (Gibbs-Delta Guide Series Moon

Jelly UV glow, or Kitetail in Green or

chartreuse glow; O’Ki Betsy, Jelly Fish, UV

glow Footloose, Frenchie, or Fire n’ Ice; or

Hot Spot UV purple glow)

• plugs (seven-inch Tomic – #493, #500,

#530UV, #576G, #602, #639, #700, or #803

– or Lyman)

• big spoons (Gibbs-Delta G Force, Gator,

Wonder, and Clendon Stewart; O’Ki Titan

Kinetic or Real Live Anchovy Image;

“Honeycomb” Tomic; Luhr Jensen Superior,

Coyote and Diamond King; Williams

Whitefish; or Pesca RSG and SPF) fished on

their own

• small three- or four-inch high-action spoons

(Gibbs-Delta G Force, Razorback, Skinny G,

Coho Killer, or Gypsy; Williams Savant; Luhr

Jensen Coyote; AP Tackleworks Herring,

Sandlance or Anchovy; or Pesca RSG) two

metres behind a flasher

• hoochies (translucent white, Army Truck,

Pistachio, Tiger Prawn, Irish Cream, J200, or

glow-green splatterback) one metre behind

a flasher.

While you’re in the area, take some time to

visit the North Pacific Historic Fishing Village,

near Port Edward on the Skeena River. This

national historic site preserves one of the last,

mostly intact salmon canneries on the British

Columbia coast. A charter boat tour to the

Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, north

of Prince Rupert, will get you “up close and

personal” with the magnificent Ursus arctos

horribilis … an experience you’ll not soon

forget. For a scenic cruise-and-drive from Port

Hardy to Prince Rupert through the Inside

Passage, consider taking the B.C. Ferries’ M.V.

Northern Expedition. Railway enthusiasts

can book space aboard VIA Rail’s spectacular

Skeena Line from Jasper.

Highway 16

Highway 16 (the Yellowhead Highway)

traverses the province from east to west

through McBride, Prince George, Fraser

Lake, Smithers, Terrace and, finally, Prince

Rupert on the west coast. To find rainbow

trout, try travelling from Prince George to the

confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers.

You’ll see that the rivers run more clearly

and shallower – good for holding rainbows

or whitefish. Similar water and fishing

conditions are found on the Bowron, Willow,

60 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


and Chilako rivers, and on Cluculz Creek.

Around the towns of Smithers, Burns

Lake, Houston, Vanderhoof, and Fraser Lake,

which lie west of Prince George, numerous

lakes are within reasonable proximity and

furnish enjoyable, lake-hopping day-trips.

Larger lakes (like Babine, Burns, Takla,

Trembleur, Stuart, Fraser, and François) offer

good-sized lake char, kokanee, whitefish, and

burbot, as well as fine fishing for rainbows.

Tezzeron, Little Bobtail, Tachik, Finger, Pinchi,

Grizzly, Tatuk, and Nuiki are smaller lakes with

prime fishing for kokanee and rainbow trout.

Use float tubes or pontoon boats, and look for

terrific ice fishing after freeze-up.

In smaller streams, rainbow trout, Dolly

Varden, and whitefish willingly hit small

spinner lures (Gibbs-Delta Sil-vex, Mepps

Aglia, Blue Fox Vibrax, or Worden’s Rooster

Tail).

On lakes, troll with:

• Apex Hot Spot Trout or Kokanee Killers

• Gibbs-Delta Gypsy or Razorback, Worden’s

Triple Teazer, Dick Nite, or Mepps Little

Wolf spoons

• Wedding Band spinners

• Worden’s Flatfish, Rapala X-Raps, or Luhr

Jensen Kwikfish

• a worm and spinner behind a gang troll.

• Fly-fishers will find that almost any popular

pattern (Pheasant Tail, Doc Spratley,

Black Gnat, beadhead chironomid, Royal

Coachman, Tom Thumb, Adams, 52 Buick,

ant, mayfly, damselfly, sedge, caddis, or

leech) is effective.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of

BC stocks trout in many lakes in the area to

maintain a robust fishery. Stocked lakes include

Opatcho, Shane, Ferguson, Carp, and Eena

around Prince George; Hart in Crooked River

Park; Johnson and Dunalter outside of Houston;

Round and Tyhee in the Bulkley River Valley

close to Telkwa; and Ross east of New Hazelton.

Perfect for family outings, these lakes present

beginner-level fishing. For the more advanced

angler, Richmond Lake (east of Burns Lake),

Hobson and Chief Gray lakes (about 90 km

from Vanderhoof), and Duckwing and Duckbill

lakes (near Moricetown) require hiking in – but

with limited access, can often furnish trophy

rainbows.

The powerful Skeena River and its

complex system of tributaries – the Kispiox,

Bulkley, Suswa, Babine, Morice, Zymoetz,

Copper, and Sustut rivers – all offer excellent

year ’round fishing. Come in mid- to late

summer for huge chinook salmon, and from

September to October for big coho salmon.

You’ll also find fine fishing for resident

rainbow trout and Dolly Varden.

The system is also renowned for

its trophy, pink-tinged steelhead,

many weighing in excess of

10 kilograms. With warmer

late summer water

temperatures, earlyrun

steelhead have a

higher metabolism,

and will even rise to

a dry fly. When the

water temperatures

cool in the fall,

more conventional

bottom-hugging

fishing strategies

prevail as the famed

steelhead fishery

continues throughout

the winter and well into

spring.

For salmon and steelhead,

bottom-bounce big rivers using:

• heavy spoons (Gibbs-Delta Koho

or Kit-A-Mat; Luhr Jensen Krocodile;

Williams Bully; Len Thompson 5 of

Diamonds; or Blue Fox Pixee)

• spinners (Gibbs-Delta Tee Spoon; Luhr

Jensen Bang-Tail; Mepps Aglia; or Blue Fox

Strobe).

• If you occasionally bump bottom, you’re

fishing deeply enough. Goad a non-feeding

salmon into striking by back-trolling

high-action wiggling lures (Blue Fox Foxee

Fish; Cotton Cordell Wiggle “O’s”; Luhr

Jensen Hot Shots or Kwikfish; or Worden’s

Flatfish) right in front its nose. Float-drift

bait (cured salmon roe or dew worms),

Gibbs-Delta Gooey Bobs, or Worden’s Super

Spin-N-Glos just off the bottom along the

edges of gravel bars.

Fly-flingers should try using big, flashy

rabbit-fur and marabou-feather wet patterns

(like the Popsicles, Steelhead Bee, Steller’s Jay,

Egg-Sucking Leech, or General Practitioners)

to tempt trophy steelhead and other

salmonids into striking.

Around Terrace, Onion and Kleanza

lakes are popular for their willing and

plentiful rainbow trout. In the deep waters of

Kitsumkalum, Treston, and Redsand lakes,

find piscivorous cutthroat and Dolly Varden

char that will attack fish-imitating lures with

reckless abandon.

In Hazelton, at the convergence of the

Bulkley and Skeena Rivers, learn about the

history of some of British Columbia’s First

Nations at the ’Ksan Historical Village and

Museum. The neighbouring villages of Kispiox,

Gitanyow, Gitwangak, and Gitsegukla have a

splendid self-guided tour among 50 traditionally

carved totem poles. The dizzying, single-lane

Hagwilget Canyon Bridge, 80 metres above the

Bulkley River, is considered one of the highest

suspension bridges in the world.

Journey north of Terrace to witness the

stark moonscape of Nisga’a Memorial Lava

Bed Provincial Park. This location was the

site of a massive volcanic eruption that is

estimated to have killed approximately 2,000

aboriginal people only about 250 years ago.

Omineca-Peace River

The northeastern corner of the province features

the Rocky Mountain Trench. This geologic

formation lies between the Omineca Mountains

on the west and the Northern Rockies on the

east. The river systems running into and out

of the area are impacted somewhat by the

W.A.C. Bennett Dam on the Peace River, which

stems the flows of its two major tributaries,

the Finlay and Parsnip rivers, to form massive

360-kilometer-long Williston Lake.

The dam is worth a tour. Located near

Tumbler Ridge, it is one of the world’s biggest

earth-filled structures – towering 180 metres

high, and spanning two kilometres across the

Peace River.

Also worth visiting is Monkman

Provincial Park, 60 kilometres south of

Tumbler Ridge. You’ll find excellent fishing in

the Murray River, along with unforgettable

views of spectacular Kinuseo Falls, which

www.suncruisermedia.com 61


Northern BC

cascades some 60 metres over a geological

fault to the riverbed below. Tumbler Ridge is

a UNESCO-recognized Global Geopark, with

7,722 square kilometres sheltering a geological

heritage that includes 97-million-year-old

dinosaur tracks along the banks of Flatbed

Creek. The town’s Dinosaur Discovery Gallery

presents fascinating exhibits of Mesozoic fossils,

and a full-scale re-creation of the prehistoric

environment. Be sure to get your souvenir photo

taken in front of Dawson Creek’s remarkable

Alaska Highway Mile 0 signpost.

While the Peace River flows east across

the Continental Divide, the Liard River –

which runs alongside Highway 97 (the Alaska

Highway) – and other prominent rivers in this

part of the province flow north. All contain

fish that are commonly found in both the

Yukon and in northern Alberta. The gamut of

game fish catchable in rivers and lakes include

northern pike, lake char, spotted Arctic

grayling, whitefish, walleye, bull trout, and

rainbow trout.

The Racing, Halfway, Buckinghorse,

Tetsa, Liard, Smith, Sikanni Chief, Prophet,

Muskwa, Trout, and Toad rivers, as well

as McDonald Creek, are easily accessible

from Highways 29 and 97. These waterways

offer up grayling, bull trout, whitefish, and

northern pike.

Lakes like Azouetta, Gwillim, Moose,

Heart, Moberly, Jackfish, Foot, and Sundance

(along with the Burnt, Pine, and Sukunka

rivers) are only a short distance from the

resource towns of Hudson’s Hope, Tumbler

Ridge, Fort St. John, Chetwynd, and Dawson

Creek. These waters hold Arctic grayling,

northern pike, lake char, Dolly Varden, perch,

goldeye, rainbow, and eastern brook trout.

Cast small spinners (Gibbs-Delta Sil-Vex,

Mepps Aglia, Worden’s Rooster Tail, or Blue

Fox Vibrax) and small spoons (Gibbs-Delta

Gypsy or Gator, Williams Dartee, Mooselook

Wobbler, Mepps Syclops, or Blue Fox Pixee)

for smaller species of fish. Fly-fishers will

find small Royal Coachman, Adams, Black

Gnat, ant, or Tom Thumb patterns perfect

for attracting whitefish, Arctic grayling, and

stocked rainbow trout.

There’s hardly any lure too big for

aggressive northern pike. Try:

• Blue Fox Pixee, Husky Dardevle, Luhr

Jensen Krocodile, Len Thompson 5 of

Diamonds spoons, or Williams Bully

• big crank baits (Rebel Fastrac, Creek Chub

Pikie, Rapala Super Shad Rap, or jointed

Canadian Wiggler)

• flashy marabou streamer flies with lots of

yellow and red

• top-water lures (Rapala Skitter Pop or

Creek Chub Super Knuckle Head).

Be sure to partake in fine ice fishing

during the winter months.

Though walleye are not common in B.C.,

the Omineca-Peace River area is one of a few

locations in the province where you can land

one. Find these delicious and much soughtafter

game fish in the Beatton, Fort Nelson,

and Peace rivers, or fishing the underwater

structure of Charlie Lake. Use:

• small leadhead jigs tipped with

nightcrawlers, garden worms, shiners, Yum

Walleye Grubs, or Mister Twisters

• Storm’s weighted Wildeye Live Minnows

• diving crankbaits (Rapala Fat Rap, Frenzy

Flicker Shad, Poe’s Cruise Minnow, or Wally

Diver).

The north of B.C. is also noted for huge

lake char. Find these saggy-bellied brutes

at Muncho Lake (Mile 437 on the Alaska

Highway) along with rainbow trout, whitefish,

Arctic grayling, and Dolly Varden. Fly-in

destinations (like Tuchodi, Fern, Gataga,

Netson, Redfern, Fishing, Long Mountain,

Tetsa, Wokkpash, Dall, and Fairy lakes)

available out of Muncho Lake or Fort Nelson

have excellent fishing for Dolly Varden,

grayling, rainbow trout, and trophy lake char.

Northwest Corner

In British Columbia’s far northwest, many

mountains are glacier-capped, and skirt

narrow valleys that drain via turbulent rivers

plummeting down steep inclines. The Spatsizi

Plateau Wilderness Park joins with Tatlatui Park,

the Stikine River Recreation Area, and Mount

Edziza Park to form an extensive wilderness

sanctuary. The Stewart-Cassiar Highway –

otherwise known as Highway 37 – begins at the

village of Kitwanga, just off Highway 16, and

trucks north to the British Columbia-Yukon

border. Magnificent boreal forest stretches for

hundreds of kilometres on either side of this

lightly travelled route.

Some of the fantastic lakes in this remote

area have fish that have seldom seen any kind

of lure, and will strike at almost anything.

Lakes and streams in the northwestern corner

of the province hold rainbow trout, burbot,

Rocky Mountain whitefish, and Dolly Varden.

Northern pike, Arctic grayling, and the inconnu

(or sheefish) are also inhabitants of local waters.

Monster lake char can reach up to 20 kilograms

in Atlin Lake, Tagish Lake, or Dease Lake, all of

which can be fished with downrigger-equipped

cruisers. At Dease Lake, charter a floatplane to

access Stalk, Tatlatui, and Tatsamenie lakes for

trophy lake char, rainbow, or bull trout.

Smaller lakes also have top-notch fishing

for rainbow trout, Dolly Varden char, Arctic

grayling, and whitefish. Gnat, Kinaskan,

Eddontenajon, Kluachon, Ealue, and Wheeler

lakes (along with the Cottonwood and

Tanzilla rivers) have good highway access,

and provide excellent fly-fishing action on

both dry and wet fly patterns.

Book a flight-seeing tour from the

community of Atlin, on the eastern side

of Atlin Lake, for an awesome view of the

Llewellyn Glacier at the lake’s southern end.

King Salmon and Kuthai lakes are well-known

fly-in fishing lakes, with massive rainbow

up to nine kilograms. Dolly Varden to three

kilograms have also been taken there.

The Taku-Inklin-Nakina Rivers have

been known to cede chinook weighing in up

to 30 kilograms. Not too far from Atlin, drive

to creek openings along the shores of Atlin

Lake to cast for small but sporting, energetic

Arctic grayling … you can catch them near

midnight in June! Trophy Arctic grayling (up

to two kilograms) will hit your lures in nearby

Surprise Lake. McDonald Lakes contain lake

char to three kilograms, and scads of small

Arctic grayling. Palmer Lake is full of small

northern pike, but if you’re looking for a

trophy wall-hanger, take the rough fourwheel-drive

road to Gladys Lake.

In smaller lakes and streams, spincast

for rainbow trout, Arctic grayling, and

whitefish using small Gibbs Sil-vex, Mepps

Aglia, or Panther Martin spinners. For the

fly-caster, both small dry patterns (like the

Tom Thumb, Parachute Adams, Black Gnat,

or versatile Royal Coachman), or wet flies

(like the Muddler Minnow, Doc Spratley, or

Mickey Finn) will work well.

For bigger lake char, northern pike, inconnu,

or trophy-sized rainbow trout, troll or

spincast:

• spinners (Mepps Magnum Musky Killer)

• crankbaits (Rapala X-Rap, Creek Chub

Pikie, or Rebel Holographic Minnow)

• spoons (big Len Thompson 5 of Diamonds,

Eppinger Husky Dardevle, or Williams

Whitefish)

• wobbling lures (Gibbs-Delta Hockey Stick,

Apex Hot Spot, or Worden’s Flatfish).

In the bigger rivers, tempt chinook,

rainbow trout, steelhead, and Dolly Varden

with heavy spoons like the Gibbs Kit-A-Mat

or Koho, Luhr Jensen Krocodile, or Blue

Fox Pixee. Fly-fishers should try big wet

patterns (Kelsey’s Hope, Skunk, Steelhead

Bee, General Practitioners, or Popsicle) with a

sink-tip fly-line.

62 The SPORT FISHING Guide 2018


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